Many small businesses shy away from ‘marketing’ but often they are doing more marketing than they think – anything that you do that makes your business grow is marketing.
Recession is the breeding ground of opportunity and in many cases it’s the small businesses that are reaching consumers faster and more effectively than their larger competitors.
Small businesses are often closer to their customers and you have probably been marketing your business on the internet without realising– talking to your customers directly, via email or through social media channels means that feedback is often given without invitation or structured market research allowing for product development and creativity. Larger businesses often spend too time focusing on constraints of brand, budgets and ultimately discussing ideas rather than implementing them.
Understanding the customer is key to success of any marketing activity – knowing what they want, when they want it and how to reach them means you spend less time, energy and money persuading them to purchase your product or service. If your customers don’t use social media, then don’t use social media; if they read the Yorkshire Post then use the Yorkshire Post.; if they attend agricultural shows, then take a stand at an agricultural show….and so on.
Responding to journalist call-outs for items for national newspaper round-ups such as the ‘10 best….’ can all add to the perception that your business is big and put you in front of a national audience. Other businesses place their head above the parapet and court controversy – take a view on a subject and hold it true, be available to be on the end of the phone when your view is required! Of course if you’re not looking for national exposure then these tactics work regionally and locally too.
The growth of the internet and its role in reaching many customers means that one piece of content can now be shared to many across many channels. Got a new product? Create some Youtube content – share it on your website; direct people to it via your social channels; email your current customers and prospects – suggest they look at it; send out a press announcement directing readers to the content on your site; send samples of the product to key and influential bloggers and magazine editors and your product really could be the next Cambridge Satchel Story. Marketing your business on the internet is a must.
The beauty of small business marketing is that you don’t need to think small. Break down the barriers – talk to your community. If you are promoting a local service or event then why not speak to local landowners and place advertising boards in fields? Think about where your customers will be or even partner with bigger brands - for example the Great Yorkshire Show partnered with Black Sheep Brewery to reach a wider audience by promoting the Show in public houses around the region.
The limit of marketing for a small business is the size of your imagination. Stand out from the crowd and think about how you want to grow your business now.