When you’re running a small or medium sized business, you’ll never be able to compete with corporate giants on advertising spend. This means that your marketing has to be smart if it’s going to succeed. You need to be clear about your aims and specific in your application. These ten tips will help you to achieve that.
Start with a strategy
Every successful marketing campaign stats with a plan. Look at some of the advice shared by Valentino Vaschetto, who has been working in this area for years (Valentino Vaschetto is president of Pinnacle Dream Media) and consider how you could apply it to your own organization. Your plan can be flexible and take developing events into account, but you need to have a clear direction and keep your efforts cohesive.
Research your market
In order to strategize successfully, you’ll need to know your market. That means taking the time to clearly identify your target customers and find out more about them. You don’t have to spend a lot to do this – there’s lots of free demographic marketing information available on the internet if you take the time to look for it. Focus on your potential customers’ preferences and aspirations.
Aim straight at the target
Small business marketing can’t afford to aim wide because that results in too much time, money and energy being squandered. Instead you need to be very specific in targeting your message. This could mean posting on niche forums, advertising in special interest journals or using filters to target specific groups of people online.
Give it visual appeal
In today’s world people are less and less inclined to read long passages of text. For more effective marketing, use images that appeal to the emotions. Pack information into infographics. You could even go a step further and make your own video, filming it yourself or using free online animation tools and posting it on YouTube and Vimeo.
Build up your brand
Marketing isn’t just about advertising – it’s also about making sure that people know who you are and are impressed by your reputation. Use a consistent style, logo and color scheme so that the things your produce are instantly recognizable as yours. Offer yourself to journalists as an expert in your field and get TV, radio and press coverage whenever you can.
Make yourself useful
Everybody wants something for nothing, so why not provide it? By offering how-to guides, advice or entertainment without directly asking for anything in return, you can build up a good reputation and get people sharing materials that help to get your brand name out there. This approach also increases loyalty among existing customers.
Social media platforms are not just there to provide you with places to advertise – they’re also places where you can chat to customers and shape the way they see you. You can be helpful, sympathetic, authoritative, witty or generous – whatever combination of traits helps you appeal to your customers. They’ll respond much more positively when they feel that they know you.
Seek customer feedback
Asking people for feedback on social media can be risky because you risk being trolled or criticized in public. On the other hand, it’s easy to solicit feedback through your website, especially if you offer free entry into a prize draw in return for filling out a form. Analyzing this will help you keep up to date with any changes in your customer base and refine what you’re doing.
Be realistic about your capacity
While the above makes clear that there are lots of different things you can try, be careful not to overreach yourself. Starting something you can’t finish is a good way to end up with bad word of mouth. Before you take on a marketing project, make sure you have the resources (including staff time) to see it through.
Keep on learning
Every successful marketer recognizes that the job requires constant learning. Both new and old media are continually changing and it’s vital that you stay on top of this if you’re to keep up with the competition. Read the latest marketing blogs and network with other people in the business – you may even make friends with whom you can pursue joint initiatives.
A focused approach to marketing can build up visibility for you even if you’re only a small player. Post your best materials on your website so that they can keep on working for you, and start a blog to bring it all together. If you’re smart, imaginative and willing to work hard, you can be a contender.