A number of factors go into planning out the launch of a small business, and one of the most important ones to consider is marketing. After all, if you do not market, you will not likely have enough customers to sustain yourself. Marketing for a small business can prove difficult since your budget is likely to be quite limited.
However, it is possible to attract a large number of customers with a relatively small investment provided that you take the right approach. GBTI also offers a wide range of business loans that you can use to help your company grow. Some key tips to keep in mind when it comes to marketing your small business include:
1. Make a strategic plan.
The key to using marketing money effectively is to have a clear plan for your approach. You can approach marketing in several different ways, from online advertising to printed pamphlets. In general, you should use several different approaches depending on your intended audience. Do the research to figure out what works best for businesses in your sector and ask yourself how your particular customers are mostly likely to be reached.
Younger people generally pay most attention to online marketing efforts, but you may need to rely on more traditional formats to reach older customers. Figure out what the competition is doing and whether or not it seems to be working for them. You will need to be somewhat focused in your approach, at least at first, so put in the work to get the most from your investment.
2. Focus on consistent branding.
Perhaps the most important part of marketing a small business is creating a brand. Think about a logo or mascot that can distinguish your brand, as well as the colors and fonts you want associated with it. Once you have defined your brand, you can use it consistently across different marketing platforms. Whether someone sees an Instagram story or a printed mailer, that person should be able to connect it to your company immediately.
Integrated marketing campaigns tend to be the most effective, which means having a consistent appearance and message across various media. Then, when individuals see an advertisement for your company, they already have a sense of what to expect and can embrace more of the message. Consistency is extremely important, especially in the early stages of establishing a company.
3. Focus on what makes you different.
Think of marketing as an argument. You need to convince people that you are the company for them. To do this, you will need to demonstrate what makes you different from the competition. This can prove quite tricky, since blocks of text are unlikely to attract people to an advertisement. Focus on the one or two key points that distinguish you and make them the focal point of any campaign.
Try to get these points across in short statements and graphics rather than long explanations. Do not think too hard about this distinguishing point. Often, it can be the fact that you are a small, local business that understands the needs of a community rather than a larger corporation pushing products. Small businesses often have an advantage because of the personal touches they can put on their marketing that lets people know they are local.
4. Always create an online presence.
Too often, small businesses neglect to create a robust and consistent online presence, which is a huge misstep. Internet searches are ubiquitous and not appearing in these queries puts you at a significant disadvantage. Moreover, creating an online presence is extremely inexpensive. You can create starter accounts on various social media accounts for free and then create your own website using various tools that are both budget- and user-friendly.
Social media is a great way to connect with customers and get feedback while a website is great for providing potential customers with basic information and details about contacting you. As always, brand all of these different outlets consistently so everyone can tell who you are just by looking at the website or profile. Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram are great places to start that hit a wide variety of demographics.
5. Start building a mailing list immediately.
Another tool that small business owners can use is physical mail or even emails. However, you will need to have a list of people to send this information to before you can do so. Begin asking for contact information immediately. Link to the mailing list on social media websites and the company’s own site.
To get people interested, you will likely need to offer an incentive, such as a small gift or a discount. Sending coupons through these mailing lists is a great way to get people to sign up and pay attention to messages. Free gifts do not have to be very expensive. For example, you could write a short electronic book or pamphlet about something related to your products. Just make sure it is information people will actually use.