When starting your own business, it’s important that you conduct market research on your audience, industry as well as what your business ‘tone of voice’ should be. Once you have completed these initial steps, read on for nine tips for how to market your small business effectively:
- Polish your website
- Consider local marketing approaches
- Involve existing customers
- Choose the right channels
- Implement quick wins
- Engage with social media
- Start email marketing
- Create a content marketing strategy
- Build trust with every interaction
1) Polish your website
If you don’t already have one, it’s time to create a website.
Searching online is the primary way consumers look for products and services these days. 85% of customers will research a business online before deciding to make a purchase, and more than half of all searches are done via mobile now. Therefore, your website must be professional and mobile-friendly.
Set up a clean homepage that’s easy to navigate and demonstrates who you are, what you do, and how to get in touch with you. Nail this down first –– then you can build into other web pages that will support your marketing.
Value-adding web pages include content (which we will come to later) as well as case studies of your successful work and a customer help centre.
2) Consider local marketing approaches
If your business is locally based, get registered on service directories within your area, including digital directories such as Yell or CheckaTrade.
Don’t forget to set up a Facebook business account (we show you how in this article), and fill out your Google My Business information – this is the tab that appears at the top of the search results if anyone searches your business name. It’s important to fill both these accounts out thoroughly so that your business information (such as opening hours and contact details) are readily available on multiple platforms.
If you’re just getting started locally, don’t discount an old fashioned radio commercial to target listening commuters or flyer campaigns to get your business name out there. For example, a new physiotherapist could leave business cards at local gyms or training grounds to drum up business. Or perhaps a gardener posting leaflets through doors would pick up customers that urgently need their grass cut or fence fixed but haven’t got around to finding someone.
3) Involve your existing customers
Ask your customers where they found you. This will give you an indication of what channels are already helping you reach people. Double down on these methods as they are getting you in front of the right audience.
You can also ask your customers to write reviews. Explain that it could help you as a small business, or offer them a small discount on their next purchase. These incentives could convince them to leave a review on Google or other directories.
Acquiring a new customer can cost five times as much as retaining an existing one. So involve your existing customers on social media by engaging directly with their comments and shares, or use your clients as case studies and tag them in your posts. Create content just for your existing followers and customers, to keep them coming back time and time again.
4) Choose the right channels for you
With any marketing venture, remember your target audience. Any marketing should aim to reach your target audience, and you should tailor your marketing efforts to resonate with them.
When you have a small business, it’s best to dedicate your time and money to channels that make sense for your goals, not just the cool new marketing trend. For example, for a local plumber, Instagram and Tiktok will probably not be right. It may be wiser to optimise for SEO in this instance, to reach customers searching for ‘plumber in Edinburgh’ and similar terms. This way, when clients urgently need plumbing services, they may find the business at the top of Google search results.
If you are running a B2B business and offering professional services, then using LinkedIn and content marketing may be more effective. Your customers may need to educate themselves a little extra about your product or service before making a purchase.
5) Go for quick wins
To fund some bigger projects, you could start with quick wins like paid advertising. Using paid Google or social media ads will direct searches to your website, with an upfront cost of your choosing.
You could also try other unconventional methods to get in front of larger audiences, like co-marketing. This is where you team up with another local business that is not a direct competitor to you but offers something valuable to your customers. For example, if you both promote your complementary products or services, you will also be visible to their followers and existing customers –– and vice versa.
Once you work on your quick wins, don’t forget to examine closely where things didn’t work, so that next time you can improve.
6) Engage with social media
Small businesses cannot ignore the power of social media. It takes time to build an engaged and loyal following, but it pays off once they’re sold on your product. You can find a guide on how to use social media in detail here.
7) Start email marketing
Crafting an effective newsletter is one step in the right direction for bringing in business via email. You can’t guarantee everyone will read your emails, but they are an effective way to build awareness around your business to new leads and existing customers.
8) Create useful content
Writing blogs on commonly asked questions in your industry can draw in prospective customers searching for information. Content marketing shows off your expertise and gives you something to share regularly in social media posts and emails. It’s a win-win for you and your customers!
Don’t feel like you have to stick to blogging (but we can help you with that here). You can also create case studies using clients stories, as well as hundreds of other types of digital content.
As long as the content you create is useful to your target audience, or solves an issue for them in some way, you’re on the right track to building loyalty through showcasing your expertise.
Build trust with every interaction
Using a separate business current account for your small business makes your venture look more professional, increasing brand trust when customers come to pay for a product or service.
Countingup is the business current account that comes with free accounting software. It automates financial admin for thousands of small business owners across the UK, so that they can spend more time on growing their business. Find out more here.