When it comes to building a marketing plan, not all tactics are one-size-fits-all solutions for small businesses. As a small business owner, you know the challenges of meeting sales, revenue and marketing objectives. From shoestring budgets to meeting the demands for fresh content to potentially longer turnaround times, it’s a jungle out there. Luckily, you don’t have to pull a rabbit out of your hat to boost business and get the word out about your company.
Here are seven tactics to build your SMB marketing plan:
1. Data and research
One of the benefits your business has over the big guys is how well you know your customers. You may even know them on a first-name basis. Even if you don’t, you can take that relationship to the next level by doing a little brainstorming about what their needs may be.
What services could I offer that I’m not offering now? How do I build relationships with customers I already know? How do I reach people with similar interests as those provided by my business? How do I set my company apart from the rest? Get customer input early and often, then focus on the right audience and demographic. Don’t rule out unconventional or guerrilla marketing tactics like holding a fun contest or aligning your products/services with a trending viral video or hot news story.
2. Connect via email
Email campaigns are a great way to expand, support, nurture and promote your business. Sending audience-specific emails to customers doesn’t cost a lot, and it can earn you a lot of revenue. A recent survey found that customers who buy products via email spend 138% more than those who don’t get email offers (see No. 6). On a side note, multiple email marketing studies found that Tuesday at 10 a.m. is the best day and time to send emails.
3. Boost your site speed
Time is money when it comes to loading a webpage. Google research indicates that more than half of mobile users leave a site that takes longer than three seconds to load. Amazon found that just one second too long could cost US$1.6 billion per year in sales. Check your site speed to see if it’s fast so that users can engage with your content quickly.
4. Be accessible
Make sure that customers can find you online, whether it’s via a desktop or mobile device. You can do this by using Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) best practices when building or updating your website. Think your website is already SEO friendly? A lot has changed. With nearly 60% of all searches happening on mobile devices, Google has some new guidelines. Starting in 2019, mobile-friendly design is king, which means Google now looks at your mobile version first for indexing and ranking.
5. Be social
As a small business, connecting with customers is your stronghold. Take it a step further by staying active on social media. One survey found that 90 per cent of marketers say social media is critical to their business. Having a presence on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and other sites can help you better connect with your customers. If social media is not your strong point, consider enlisting the help of an intern or a social-savvy employee.
6. Offer vouchers
What’s it worth to you to build a relationship with your customers? It might surprise you that something as simple as a £10 off voucher or BOGOF offer could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship. An overwhelming 92% of respondents in a recent study say they used vouchers in the past year. It’s a great way to show appreciation for both new and loyal customers and then reel them in with your awesome products or services.
7. Go local
One of the greater benefits of being a small business is the ability to get up-close and personal with customers. But don’t forget about your local network. Get to know other local businesses in the community with similar target markets. From there, you can form alliances, cross-promote and market together. It’s an easy, low-cost way to build up large contact databases, boost brand awareness and grow your business.