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!

Elements of a Good Small Business Marketing Strategy

Effective marketing is an essential part of your overall business strategy. After all, there’s not much point in having a great product or service if no one is aware of it!

Here are a few points to start you off in developing your own small business marketing strategy:

  • A sound strategy starts from having clearly defined missions and goals. This means that you know what it is you want to achieve in your business.
  • You know your products and services well enough to be able to define them in easy-to-understand terms, and to demonstrate the ways in which they are unique.
  • You understand where your products and services ‘fit’ in the market at any point in time.
  • You have determined who your target market is, and done your research regarding what it is they really want and need. This is a vital element as you need to have your market narrowed down to those who are more likely to be interested in buying your product. Researching your target market or potential client base can be done through online research, focus groups and surveys.
  • You know the competition! It’s important to research your competitors, their products and services, pricing, and markets. By doing this, you can determine the areas where you can develop a distinct advantage.
  • You have decided which marketing communication and promotional tactics to utilise.
  • Your strategy can be tested, by measuring the results of campaigns.
  • The strategy should be flexible enough to be adjusted, depending on the results of activities, and on changes in the wider marketplace.

Timing and activities

Your short and long-term goals will also make a difference to your marketing strategy. For instance, your goal for next six months might be to reach out to a new demographic, or to advertise a new product, and this will determine the timing and type of activities you use.

Promotional tactics and activities might include advertising in the paper, in magazines, on websites and through social media, and on the radio, and with media releases, sales promotions involving short-term discounts, or direct marketing through email campaigns, brochures or telemarketing.

Remember, a good small business marketing strategy will aim to get the attention of your target market, and to keep drawing that attention over time.

This means keeping a keen eye on what is going on out there in the marketplace, and on what people are interested in.