It doesn’t matter whether you’re a huge multinational, an up and coming startup, or even your local mom and pop shop. Every business needs marketing in some form. Without it, you’re heading straight to insolvency.
You can cite every excuse in the book. You go by word of mouth. There’s no budget for it. You’re just a small business, marketing is for the big players. None of them count. Standing still = getting smaller. Here’s why marketing matters:
It engages customers. Even if your customer’s foot is already in the door, you need to keep them engaged. Otherwise they’ll go to the business that keeps them coming back for more. Fresh content, always.
Build your rep. In business, you stand and fall by your reputation. If you market, you can help control the narrative. Exuding trust and expertise, for example.
Relationship building. Customers, just like everyone else, want to be part of something. The tribal element of consumer choice is underestimated.
Increase sales. Ultimately, it’s down to the bottom line, right? And marketing increases sales, period. Invest $1 in marketing and you’ll get more in return.
As long as you do it right, of course. Here are a few strategies that will work for a range of businesses:
Go Old School: Print
It’s easy to get taken in by ‘modern’ marketing methods: Google Ads, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, you know the drill. And we’re not saying these avenues don’t work. They clearly do.
But that doesn’t mean you should ditch the tried and tested. Print is tangible, memorable and, perhaps most importantly, underutilized. Companies often turn their backs on traditional methods, which gives you opportunity. Try these five pieces of print collateral and you’ll make a real difference to your bottom line.
Use Social Media Strategically
Businesses that complain social media is useless are simply using it wrong. Random pictures and links just aren’t going to cut it. Consumers want more than that. You need to make the steps that will keep them engaged.
For example, use analytics to your advantage. What kind of posts get the most likes? Categorize and weed out the trash that gets your business on a customer’s ignore list. If you notice certain keywords work better, curate accordingly.
The ‘Be Everywhere’ strategy popularized by marketer Pat Flynn is still relevant today. It’s a simple strategy, but it works beautifully. It does exactly what it says on the tin.
You want to be where your potential customers hang out. Go on podcasts, get interviewed on a YouTube channel. Network with local media. Your name needs to be out there. You want a customer to instantly link you and your industry.
Be an Expert
Consumers hate the old car salesman schtick. Obvious marketing tactics = obvious. They’ll turn away from you, instead of driving up business. Instead, adopt the expert strategy.
This means cementing your reputation as the go-to business for your industry. You carve this out by giving away free information. For example, if you’re a physiotherapist, record videos showing people how to do certain rehab exercises.
Build Relationships with Influencers
You can’t get away from influencers, no matter how hard you try. The numbers show that they have a certain amount of clout, especially with certain demographics. Instead of sighing at the state of affairs, move with the times.
Now we’re not saying you need to start giving away free stuff to the nearest thing that resembles an influencer account. No, you want to build relationships. This can be a little bit of give and take, I scratch your back, you scratch mine. When it’s worth it, give away free products.
We can’t give you every single strategy that’s out there. There are just too many. But the main takeaway we want you to carve in a bit of stone (well, maybe not actually) is that you need to analyze your results and adapt accordingly.
Too many businesses randomize their marketing efforts. They don’t really know what works and what’s money down the drain. That’s why so many give up. Instead, become a datasheet whiz kid and keep track of everything.
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