Oct 3, 2017
“Marketing: that isn’t important at all, is it?” This is a common school of thought of many businesses, both established ones and start-ups, both fall victim to. Truth be told, marketing is key to your overall success. Think of all the big brands - Apple, McDonald’s, Coke, Starbucks, or a major sports team. By just viewing their logo, consumers can almost instantly recognize the brand and recall their experiences with it. Even if you haven’t seen your favourite team play live, you can recall an experience of watching them at a pub or in your own home.
Small businesses have a margin of error of about 0.01 per cent; your gut feeling takes you only so far. You need your brand to be sustainable, stand the test of time and outshine your competitors to a point where they become obsolete and your brand is “the choice“.
Ensure you have a good feedback loop for your customers to communicate and engage with you. Whether it’s a contact us page, or engagement through social media such as Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, communicate with them! Respond professionally and be relevant in your response; don’t throw irrelevant content at them and take some time to ensure it’s accurate and correct.
Establish a Strong Brand Identity
Design a solid brand identity and figure out who your target market is. Business is really competitive; a small business cannot compete with the budget and reach of large companies and target everyone. Small businesses can compensate for this and score victories by targeting a niche market. With a clearly defined target market and audience, it’s a lot easier to establish a marketing strategy and implement it.
Create a Unique Selling Proposition /Point (USP)
This statement is crucial in separating your business from your competition; it should be used in every single piece of marketing material that you create and put out. To put it simply, this is used to describe your “personal brand” in the marketplace. Your USP describes the benefit of your company, product, service or brand and how it stands out from competitors. Always think, “what’s in it for my customers?” That should be conveyed in your USP.
Develop a Strong Website & Feedback Loop
To extend your brand further, a website and social media pages are essential. You need to be able to reach your customers and customers need to be able to reach you. Make sure your social media loops back to your website; not looping back is a common mistake a lot of businesses make. You don’t want your customers going to a separate page and leaving your product/service. You want them to make their comment and remain engaged and remember why they came (to purchase), not to make a comment and then leave.
Chasing your Competitors
Recognize what your competitors are doing, learn from it and do it better:
Don’t try to replicate it - do it better.
Use your passion and enthusiasm, focus on your competitive advantage and run with it - do it better.
Don’t trust that what they are doing is right, learn from their mistakes and make an impact in the marketplace - do it better.
Measure your Results
Once you’ve spent a bit of money on marketing, you need to track what you do. How else will you know if a campaign is successful or gains any traction if you have not established a baseline? You need to know if you made a return on your investment, and without tracking your results there is no way to measure this.
The quality of your products will speak for itself, but having a marketing strategy is essential; doing nothing at all is only putting the nails in your business’ own coffin. Yes, it may cost you some money, employee time and resources, but not marketing or providing a direction for your brand is one of the worst things you can do for your business. Do it today.