Marketing can be something of a bugbear for entrepreneurs already struggling with keeping a million and one other plates spinning in the air. It’s not always easy being able to see the long-term value that effective marketing can really make to a business when your time is consumed with day-to-day firefighting and project management.
The sad fact is that far too many small businesses leave relatively easy money on the table by not paying enough attention to marketing. With a view towards remedying that, let’s look at four simple ways to get you started with setting your stall out more effectively.
1. Get Hyperspecific
Despite its reputation for wooly generalities, marketing is really all about the specifics. Two simple ideas here are absolutely crucial to get things right from the get go:
- Unique Selling Point (USP): What is it about the goods and/or services you are selling that is truly unique?
- Ideal Customer Profile (ICP): Who’s the perfect person you’d like as a customer?
If you’ve spent time defining these two items, the rest of your marketing efforts will flow smoothly. Fail to invest the hours in getting specific and you’ll be pushing rocks uphill and squandering any eventual spend.
2. Get Local
For the majority of small business owners, money lives right around the corner. Before you even consider marketing channels such as radio, tv, or even paid online promotions, make sure you’ve fully mapped out the immediate vicinity to take advantage of opportunities right on your doorstep.
There are plenty of options on the table here: start by boning up on the basics of local SEO; explore local joint venture options with other businesses in your area where you can co-promote; actively initiate word-of-mouth campaigns among your current customer base – the only limit here is your own creativity.
3. Get Started on Your List
Ask most small business owners what their biggest marketing regret is and “not starting earlier on my list” will reliably be in the top three answers. While Google and Facebook offer compelling paid options for influencing an audience, nothing beats the only channel you truly control – your own mailing list.
Email is the obvious outreach opportunity here so make sure you’re actively collecting email addresses throughout your sales funnel and start using the channel effectively. Don’t ignore postal mail, however. For many businesses large and small, a good old-fashioned physical mailer can be an absolute goldmine if the messaging is right.
4. Get Social
Social media has its critics but it’s an enormously powerful marketing channel nevertheless. The key points to bear in mind when using it are focus and returns. Done haphazardly, social can turn into an enormous timesink that drives very little real extra revenue. You need to ensure you’re dealing with the right media mix to begin with, and that you’re constantly monitoring actual results in terms of income rather than just likes.
You should also actively explore paid options available, particularly those from Facebook. Assuming you’ve dialled in your Ideal Customer Profile, reaching the exact people you’re after has never been easier thanks to Facebook’s advanced demographic targeting options. A little upfront effort in learning the system can unlock huge revenue streams down the line.
Obviously we’re only scratching the surface of marketing options available to you as a small business owner with these four suggestions, but they contain real power. Commit to investing some time in each one in turn and you’ll soon start seeing transformative results throughout your business as a steady stream of new customers make their way to your door!