Marketing for small business can do wonders – it can help you increase your revenue, reach new customers, develop strong partnerships and more. It isn’t a tactic reserved only for big players. On the contrary, even the smallest business regardless of its budget needs this strategy in their arsenal to grow and thrive.
However, most small business owners feel intimidated and overwhelmed by so many unfamiliar terms on marketing. They don’t know where to start and how to create effective marketing strategies. That’s why this post will help you understand the basic concepts of marketing that every small business owner should know. More importantly, here you’ll learn how to set your marketing in motion. If you’re just stepping in the world of marketing for small business, then there’s no better place to start.
What is Marketing for Small Business?
Probably you have heard of marketing as a must-have for your business growth and success. But, do you know what is marketing exactly? And what is specifically marketing for small business?
The simplest definition is “measurable activities that help create and maintain customers.” With a constant flow of new and loyal customers, you can ensure your business prosperity. Basically, marketing provides you with different tactics to succeed in that venture, such as:
– Strategies to create more customers.
– Strategies to persuade customers to buy more.
As you can see, the core of every good marketing for small business is putting your customers first. Building relationships with your clients, knowing who they are, what their challenges and needs are, is a solid foundation of effective marketing for small business. But how will you hit your target if you don’t know where to aim?
These tips can help you:
- Get to know your customers online – understand who your clients are and what are they purchase habits by gathering information through emails or personal calls.
- Create a customer persona – this is a profile of your customers based on their gender, age, habits, wishes, and challenges.
- Create a customer database – any information about a customer that is relevant to your business placed in an Excel spreadsheet or some CRM system.
- Get to know your customers not only online but also in person, so you can build a strong relationship with them. This in return will allow you to provide top of the notch service and establish the trust necessary for the purchasing process.
All this said, have in mind that marketing for small business is not the same as advertising. Advertising is only one component of marketing, which is a broader concept. Advertising refers to paying for space to promote a product or service, while marketing efforts, on the other hand, include public relations, product pricing and distribution, sales strategy, customer support, community involvement market research, marketing plan, and an allocated budget. We’ll focus now on the last three crucial components.
What is Market Research?
Now you’ve learned what marketing for small business really is, let’s see what notorious market research is. This strategy helps you identify the segment of customers that may have an interest in your product or service, and that may benefit from it.
As you can see, market research isn’t only reserved for A-players. It’s a necessary step that helps you understand who is willing to pay for your product. That way, you will avoid costly marketing mistakes.
Your target market is a very specific and reduced segment of the population interested in your business, services or products. Not everybody who breathes is your target group. Addressing your marketing efforts to a particular niche will benefit your business in numerous ways: you will save you time, money, and will have faster results.
For example, if you have a dog daycare, your target market will be reduced to only pet owners. If you have a beauty salon, your target market will be broader, but as a small business owner, you can still focus only on the female population in your area or neighborhood.
To identify your target market think about who needs your product or service. Determine their gender, age, location, education, income, interests, major challenges, and needs. Your website or social media statistics can give you valuable insights. Also, you can organize online surveys, phone interviews or different contests to get information on your audience.
What is a Marketing Plan?
Another crucial element of every successful marketing strategy is a marketing plan. It is a roadmap that specifies your marketing efforts and details the steps and actions necessary to achieve your marketing goals. A marketing plan includes:
- Company positioning: by positioning your product or service you create an image for your business (and products or services) based on the intended audience. In other words, you place (you “position”) your product among the segment of the population where it belongs.
- Goals and strategies: they are an indispensable part of every marketing plan. The goals indicate a specific desired result in a certain time frame that has a positive impact on your business while the strategies involve concrete ways to turn these objectives into realities. These two factors are detailed in a goal setting plan. A good goal setting plan will help you know how much to invest in your business; in this case, how much to invest in your marketing efforts. For example, a goal might be increasing your profits by 20%, while the strategy might be email marketing and promotion on social media.
- Detailed strategies to price product s and services competitively: this can make or break your business. Setting the right prices helps you make your business sustainable and stand out from competition as well.
- Market opportunities: refers to finding new or existing market opportunities that you can leverage in the short or long term. It’s recommendable to invest your resources only in the most promising ones.
- Target market defined: as we have seen above, identifying and defining your market will help you find clients interested in your product or service. Conducting research on their demands, preferences, and needs will allow you to scale your business.
- Marketing budget represents the financial means dedicated to marketing implementation. We’ll analyze this component of your marketing plan next.
What is a Marketing Budget?
Simply put, a marketing budget is an estimated amount of cost that will be required to promote your products or services.
However, most small business owners don’t have a clue about how much money they should invest in marketing, and moreover, they have limited resources.
As a rule of thumb, if you want to maintain your current position, you should invest around 5 percent of your total revenue on marketing. In case you want to grow your business, then you need to spend a higher percentage, around 10 percent.
Consider marketing for small business as an investment, not as an expense. The same way you invest, let’s say, in your health by paying a gym membership, you should invest in your business to thrive.
Luckily, with a little bit of creativity, even small businesses with a shoestring budget can achieve significant marketing results. Here are some ideas to inspire you:
- Attend networking events where you can meet and interact with your target audience. It’s a perfect occasion to get new clients or establish new collaborations that can help you promote your products or services.
- Share your story in online or offline magazines that your audience reads and in thus get a free press.
- Host seminars or events that are useful to your clients and where they could invite their family and friends. A win-win situation for everybody.
Still, if you want to bring your business to another level, maybe a small business loan can be an excellent solution to increase your marketing budget.
Camino Financial offers small business loans at flexible terms and affordable rates that fit the goals and needs of any small business. Because your marketing Budget should be a priority, Camino Financial provides a business loan calculator you can use to play around with different figures and scenarios until you arrive at the monthly payment and the total cost of the loan you feel comfortable with. Also, Camino Financial has a fast and straightforward application process: it will take you just minutes to submit your application, and once you’re pre-approved, a loan specialist will contact you to walk you through the process. Within 4-10 days you can receive the funds you need to invest in any area of your small business or to take your marketing initiatives to the next level. Apply for a business loan with Camino Financial and ensure finance funds necessary for your marketing endeavors and growing your business.
The Importance of Digital Marketing
As the name suggests, digital marketing refers to the promotion of your products or services using digital channels, such as social networks, the Internet and others.
Today, when most consumers research online before buying a product or service and when an average adult spends up to 5.9 hours per day with digital media, bringing your business online is a must; otherwise, you will remain invisible for the major part of consumers.
Therefore, make sure you establish an online presence with active blog posts where you provide valuable content to your readers, help them solve their problems or achieve their goals.
Likewise, invest some time on the social media your target group uses and again try to give them some value. It’s a great way to get to know your clients and interact with them.
To build a strong long-lasting relationship with your customers, try to send them a weekly monthly newsletter in their inbox. Emails are new phone numbers, so start collecting them.
Keep in mind that it takes some time to develop good marketing for small business on digital channels, so be patient and persistent.
Is That All?
Not yet! Marketing for small business includes many components, different channels, and strategies, as well as various tools. So, to have a complete notion about this term take into account the following elements:
- Brand identity involves how you want to present your business, and how you want to be perceived by consumers. Logo, color palette, business cards, brochures, website, uniforms, car decals, etc. are part of your brand identity. They should all share the same look and message: this is the best reflection of your business.
- An elevator pitch represents core information about the business you give whenever somebody asks you what you do. Create an interesting and short pitch (as the name suggests, it shouldn’t last longer than an elevator ride) and be ready to leave a good first impression.
- Word of mouth is one of the most effective forms of marketing for small business even in the era of digital marketing: people trust the recommendations and opinions of those in their circle. Offer some discounts or offer additional perks for recommendations to encourage word of mouth.
Being familiar with the basic concepts and trends of marketing for small business will help you understand the rules of this complex game and play it like a pro. That way you’ll reach your goals of reaching more customers, retaining your customers and selling more.
Invest in your marketing because it will pay off for sure. If you need additional funds for this investment, Camino Financial offers convenient small business loans at best available rates and terms.
Create a budget for your marketing strategies and then apply for a small business loan to bring your business to a whole new level. It takes some time and effort to get results, so be patient and persistent, and success will come.