Marketing Your Small Business
The next few columns will focus on marketing. This is because it is so overlooked by small businesses and undervalued. It is also a major topic with many different facets, too many to cover in a short article.
What is Marketing?
Marketing is the way in which a business communicates with its existing and potential customers. To concentrate all your efforts on just your existing customers, or just your potential ones is a mistake. Existing customers should be looked after and their problems should be solved by your product or service. New customers need to know, firstly that you exist and secondly, what you are offering and thirdly, what’s in it for them if they buy from you.
Here is a list of some common mistakes made by small businesses
- Putting together a website that is not easy to read or navigate and with poor quality images
- Poorly written copy on websites with spelling mistakes
- Advertising only a mobile phone number on primary business stationery, such as business cards
- Relying on Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) or Pay Per Click (PPC) only advertising and hoping that all potential customers will find the site and instantly become customers
- Not having a realistic budget for promoting the business, or in some cases no budget
- Using social media inappropriately
- Carrying out no market research (this even applies to existing businesses)
- Not recognising that much marketing and promotion has to be carried out before enquiries convert into regular paying customers
- Preoccupation with what the business is selling and not what the customer is buying
- Being too technical or using too much jargon in the copy
- Using home produced marketing literature
Therefore if you are not using the right methods of communication, or are not communicating at all, or are using language that most people outside your industry do not understand, then straight away your message is not being heard. The result will be, your business is not getting many customers, you get disheartened and eventually give up.
Marketing is simply reaching out to your customers in a language they can understand, through various channels, giving your business more time to build its brand. More importantly marketing has to be carried out regularly so your messages are consistent and hard to ignore!