Marketing Ideas for Small Business

While anyone in a profit-making business is naturally keen to achieve a return on their investment, business experts will often emphasise that the focus of any business owner needs to be not so much on the bottom line, but on providing the best product or service in the marketplace.

Of course this starts with knowing what it is that consumers actually want or need in the first place. This involves listening to your customers, and it might entail doing some market research – through surveys, direct interviews, focus groups or other methods. Even many established companies will conduct market research when considering launching a new product. This is a vital step – as without knowing what it is that people really want, you might find yourself paddling upstream in the wrong direction!

Once you are clear on what customers want, and you have researched the competition and you are clear on your product’s cost and pricing structure, you need to develop some sound marketing tactics to help you achieve your goals and objectives. This is a continual process that involves keeping your eye on the market, measuring your progress through sales targets, and making adjustments to your strategies as required.

Here are some tips for developing better small business marketing strategies:

  •  Take advantage of the free or low-cost advertising opportunities that are available these days, such as social media, or email campaigns.
  •  Consider producing flyers, brochures, videos, press releases, a website, blog, or advertising in industry magazines.
  •  Attend trade shows and give out samples of your product or brochures describing your professional service, and be available to talk to potential clients.
  •  Consider offering special discounts or discount vouchers to use within a certain timeframe.
  •  Network with other small business owners in the industry. Ask questions with the goal of finding out what works for them and what doesn’t.
  •  To increase your exposure consider joining professional trade industry associations and networking with other businesses.
  •  Increase your skills through training sessions, employing a mentor, or attending seminars. Keep your mind open and flexible. Of course as a small business owner, you might feel that you are doing your upmost just to keep your business running, and that you just don’t have the time for marketing or the means to employ someone to do it for you.

This is where small business marketing services such as that provided by i.interact can help, by providing you with professional and expert marketing services when and where you need them – from developing marketing plans, sales and marketing tools, to branding, graphic design and public relations. Our services allow you, the business owner to keep on doing what you love to do, while knowing that marketing and promotion of your product or service has not slipped under the radar!

Marketing Planning Tips for 2013

MarketingThe silly season is well and truly upon us and the New Year is just around the corner. Therefore, now is a great time to think ahead and plan out your marketing ready for 2013. The end of the year is a perfect time to reflect on your business achievements and what you would like to improve on next year. Giving thought to your business goals for 2013 will provide the perfect platform for you to nut out a Marketing Action Plan. So, where should you start?

There is a saying, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” Developing a marketing plan is not as complicated as it sounds. It is nothing more than setting goals and making a to-do list of actions that will help you achieve those goals.

Your Marketing Action Plan will be key to your success. It will allow you to execute, track and measure your marketing activities to help you reach your goals whether they relate to boosting your brand awareness, increasing your customer base or positioning your business or brand as a leader in your industry. It should detail what strategies you will use, when you will implement them and who is responsible for each part. Being clear on your goals and outcomes including working to a timeframe is also crucial. Be realistic so that you do not set unreasonable expectations for yourself. At the same time, be careful not to set goals so far out in the future that there is no sense of urgency for you to take action.

What does a Marketing Action Plan look like? Well, it can take many forms but at the end of the day it should be an easy to reference document that relates to the person managing it. A one page action plan, similar to a mind map suits some people, whereas others may need more detail like a month to a page. Remember that the person responsible for managing your Marketing Action Plan should have it in full view of their desk at all times, somewhere they won’t miss it as a regular reminder.

For those of you who manage your own marketing internally, I always recommend that you also plug all of your marketing deadlines and reminders into your Outlook calendar. Use this or something similar as your time management tool. It will keep you accountable and on task if you choose to manage your marketing internally.

I also highly recommend that you review your Marketing Action Plan on a quarterly basis as circumstances can change. The original plan you write now will likely need to be updated throughout the year to account for changes in your industry, customer base and your budget. Quarterly marketing reviews also allow you to see what is working and what isn’t so you don’t waste valuable money on marketing activities that are not providing a return on investment.

All the best with your planning for 2013 and remember “”If you keep on doing what you’ve always done, you’ll keep on getting what you’ve always got.” If you want different results in 2013, try something new in your marketing approach, attempt to write a Marketing Action Plan or seek assistance from an experienced marketing professional.