There is a so much information on the internet aimed at start-ups and small businesses including marketing strategy advice. Looking beyond those guides promising you the world for a few measly pounds, there isn’t just one right solution. Unless you are the one in a million lucky businesses with the ‘perfect product’, at the perfect time and in the right place, you need a sound marketing strategy.

Start-ups and small businesses survive and thrive across many industries and we’ve worked with several ourselves. At the same time, there are some that unfortunately fail to find the right business model that can generate returns on a regular basis. Two of the biggest stumbling blocks for SMEs and start-ups centre around marketing where there is either too much or too little of it!

Finding The Right Marketing Strategy

The problem for most small businesses is finding the time to setup a marketing strategy and executing certain goals. In many cases, you don’t have the manpower or resources as your focus is on other elements such as customer service, payroll or stock control.

However, without an effective marketing plan, your brand will be left behind. While not everyone has a mammoth marketing budget, there are a few things you can do give your business a marketing boost.

Build Up A Client List With Email Addresses

Whether you’re an online retailer, an engineering company or traditional brick-and-mortar store, you need to implement email marketing. Start collecting your customers’ email addresses but keep in mind GDPR and email marketing best practices.

One of the simplest ways of collecting email addresses for physical stores is through a register. Leave a book at the front desk or till point with a clear message asking customers to leave their email address. Remember, people won’t give out their information for free so offer something like a special prize or a discount on their next purchase.

The next step is to choose an email marketing platform or even better, a marketing automation platform. Create relevant and quality content and engage with your audience regularly offering discounts, interesting stories or exclusive access to new product launches. There are several good software options including MailChimp, SharpSpring or Constant Contact for example. Each app is unique in their own way and it’s up to you to decide what your business requires (and what you can afford).

The Power Of Customer Reviews Or Testimonials

Based on statistics from 2018, 92% of customers say they are likely to read online reviews before visiting a business or making a purchase. Furthermore, 42% of consumers say they won’t use a business with less than a three-star rating. See where this is going? Not only is good service and quality products essential to your business, you need to get updated customer reviews.

Most customers say that they trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations which is a clear indication that reviews can significantly affect your brand’s reputation and bottom line. If you don’t have any customer reviews, people will move onto the next business listing and simply ignore you.

Get your happy customers to talk about you online and ask them for reviews. It doesn’t have to be long-winded stories as it often only takes a few short sentence to get the message across. Why not use your email marketing platform to send customers a simple review request? For more useful advice, read this article, “Top 10 Tips To Get More Online Reviews”.

Give Something Back

While profits and business success are always the primary concerns, don’t let it be your only focus. How do you want to be remembered? Don’t you want to make a difference in your community? Giving back to a local cause or charity not only helps those around you but it is also great for business. People notice acts of kindness especially from companies that truly care about something and want to make a difference.

Find a charity or a cause that you feel connected to and would love to support. Without too much marketing effort from your side, your name will be out there. Remember, “Help your community and your community will help you”.

Always Keep It Fresh

As mentioned earlier, quality and relevant content is vital to the success of any business. That refers to all types of content including web pages, blogs, social media posts and ad copy. You need to keep your content fresh with trending keywords, updated statistics and a healthy variety of messages, especially for ad copy. If you’ve been using the same content in all of your ads, perhaps it’s time for a change.

Use a different heading, change the content and include a new image and call to action. The same applies to offering the same promotion whether it’s a product or service. Get creative, think outside the box and keep it interesting and don’t forget the 80/20 rule. 80% of content should be industry related and interesting while only 20% should focus on your business itself.

Ask For Feedback And Learn From Customers

This may sound simple and somewhat obvious but the best way to find out exactly what customers want is to ask them. For example, Instead of sending a monthly newsletter with all sorts of information via email or posting random stuff on social media, why not ask your customers what they want?

The more you know about your target audience, the better content you can produce which leads to more satisfied customers. Don’t make the mistake of asking them 20 questions in a drawn out online survey, just keep it simple. Ask a few short and simple question to get valuable information in return. You should always focus on how to make their daily lives more interesting, how to help them achieve a goal or provide them with genuinely value-adding information.

Don’t Be Scared To Ask For Help

How many times has pride stood in the way of glory? Nobody is perfect and everyone needs help with something at some point in their lives. Many business owners and CEOs get so wrapped up in their own world that they don’t have time to actually work on the business.

If you’ve got a business or marketing strategy that has lost some direction, sometimes a business coach can really help. It doesn’t even take that long as even working with them for a short period of time can really help get you back on track. There are also government schemes that help small businesses financially with their business strategies.

There are hundreds of reasons why businesses fail and while many are outside of your control as a business owner or senior partner, don’t let an ineffective marketing strategy be one of them. If you need expert advice or help with your marketing strategy, we are at your service. Give us a call today to find out more! We also specialise in Social Media, Marketing Automation and Video Marketing among others.

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