The last year has been tough. As we approach the anniversary of when the UK first went into lockdown, there is a feeling of positivity out there. With the announcements of the four steps that will take us out of lock down, there is hope that things this time will be different. As we also approach our 7th birthday in April, I thought I would share some small business marketing ideas to help get those small businesses started again; or if you are taking the leap from working in the corporate world to self-employed – to get you started.
At this time of year I often reflect on what I would have told myself 7 years ago when I started out, more on that in a few weeks, for now I wanted to share some ideas to help get small business owners started again, after what has undoubtably been a really tough time.
1. Know your market
If you are just starting out in business, one of the main things to understand is your market. Who are your competitors? Is there a gap in the market for your product or service? What makes you different? and what can you offer to your audience that perhaps others can’t? It is important to understand what others are up to, but also set your own path and believe in what you are doing. Conduct research to help you identify the gaps either through surveys and questionnaires or 1:1 research.
2. Put the customer at the heart of everything
I talk a lot about defining your target audience and for those who read my blogs regularly, this is something I come back to again and again. Honestly, you can’t spend enough time on this – clearly knowing who your ideal client is will really help you to refine and hone your product, proposition and to some extend understand the pricing model that will work for your business.
3. Build a website
Think of your website as your shop window. In today’s digital world it is important that your potential customers can find you, to understand more about what you do and decide if they wish to purchase from you or not. Considering where to host your website is important, this is a great article from digital.com which summarises some of the options out there to consider. There is of course also keywords and SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) to also consider, but that can come later down the line – just to optimise your page initially, start to generate content and create your digital footprint is a great place to start.
4. Set up a workshop or master class
A great way to start to engage with your potential audience is to set up a workshop, lunch n’learn or master class. By doing this, you will feed your content plan for your digital marketing tools and also take the opportunity to show case your service. If you are a product based business then perhaps to offer a virtual shopping event or launch will be a great way to engage with your potential clients. A great recent example of this was for Mother’s Day (14 March this year in the UK), many magazines and Facebook groups were trying to drive engagement and a great way to do this was to share and showcase some of the great small business offerings out there.
5. Email Marketing
For those of you who read my content regularly, you will know that I love email marketing. I consider it to be a big gift for any small business owner. Social media is an important part of the mix but who you engage with is not decided upon by you – it is decided on the algorithms, which seem to make it more difficult and prohibitive every day to engage with those who have committed to want to hear from you. With email marketing, you have ownership of the data and you can take control of who you speak to and when. Tools such as Mail Chimp and Mailer Lite are easy to use and a good place to start.
6. Create a partnership
Partnership marketing is a great tool and one often forgotten by small business owners. When deciding who to partner with, it is key to ensure that their business compliments yours, that you have a similar target audience and both ready to focus on supporting the partnership.
7. Take some time to consider PR
There are many different ways you can invest in PR. Consider entering an award, writing a guest blog for a similar kind of business or issuing a press release to some local publications, either online or in print. Investing in this media can also help to boost your SEO ranking.
There are many more ways you can promote your business including social media marketing, going on a local radio station, networking, attending a conference, picking up the phone to potential clients and creating a client referral programme. What we wanted to pick out in this article are things with a slightly different twist. Don’t forget to always be clear on your marketing strategy and understand what success looks like by tracking the results of any marketing activity you do.
If you need some help getting started please do get in touch, we will be running a FREE five day challenge starting on Monday 19 April, in celebration of our 7th business birthday – there will be videos each day, tools and templates to help get you started. If you would like to join us please CLICK HERE to sign up.