If you’re hoping to turn your passion project into a thriving, money-making success-story, then you need to know how to market a small business.
You’ll know that, to get the wheels turning and the money coming in, getting the word out there is essential. But where to start?
You might be an incredible baker or an amazing artist, but marketing may not come quite as naturally. Don’t sweat it though - we know exactly where to start.
Check out our top ten tips on how to market a small business, and you’ll have everything you need to start spreading the word about your business, and turning that passion into your full-time gig.
From understanding your audience to starting your website up the right way, we’ve got you covered.
1. Create a Plan
This should be your first port of call when it comes to marketing a small business. A lot of the time, you’re just responsible to yourself, so having your days, weeks and months planned gives you focus on what you want to achieve and how.
When it comes to creating a marketing plan for a small business, you need to get to know the next nine points really well, and make a plan for each of them. Set yourself timescales, to-do lists and goals so you’re always moving forward and looking to the next milestone.
2. Get Online
Today, everything is online, and you should be too. Where creating a website used to be a relatively technical affair, it’s pretty straightforward these days, which is amazing for a small business owner looking to market their unique services and products.
Find yourself a domain, check out all the great hosting services out there and voila, in a day (or two) you could be online, promoting your very own products. It’s a great feeling, and definitely something you should look into early on as you plan out how to market a small business.
3. Give Your Customer A Name
One of the most important parts of marketing is understanding who you’re speaking to. This may sound obvious, but so many times the blanket approach of reaching out to a huge range of people who might not care about a product has led to the downfall of small business marketing efforts.
By understanding the wants and needs of your customer, you can reach the right people and improve your sales conversion rates. We’re talking quality over quantity here. It’s not worth focussing all your efforts on reaching 100 people who aren’t interested in your product, compared to speaking to ten people who would love what you’re selling.
One of the best ways to make sure you’re talking to the right people is to create a customer persona.
Give them a name and ask yourself some important questions. How old are they? What do they do in their spare time? What’s important to them?
By creating a persona, you can tailor your marketing approach to suit the right person, and the results will be amazing.
4. Understand SEO
SEO or search engine optimisation is essential in making your mark online. This is basically the practice of writing great quality, relevant content on your website. If you do that, then the almighty Google will reward you with high rankings, lots of traffic and those all important sales.
How many times have you searched for a product online, clicked the first option you see and bought something? In the online world, that’s how sales are made and that’s how businesses flourish. See how important this is to a small business too?
Understanding, utilising and mastering SEO is so important when learning how to market for a small business, and it’s often something that’s saved for big companies with lots of cash to spend on agencies. But, with the right know-how, we promise you, it can be done brilliantly by small business owners, and with minimal budget too.
5. Make The Most Of Social Media
We all know social media for small businesses is a biggy when it comes to spreading the word. Nowadays, you hear about so many homegrown companies that have hit the big time through their fantastic instagram account or great Facebook following.
The first step on your way to influencer greatness is creating an account. Again, this is very simple these days, and once you’re set up it’s time to get some followers. Begin by searching hashtags relevant to your product, follow the accounts that look like they’re aligned with you and your product and start engaging. And, when you start posting, replicate those hashtags too!
The world of social media offers so many opportunities to build a customer base, but engagement, aligning yourself with the right audience and posting relevant, quality content is a great first few steps. Once that’s done, watch the followers roll in.
6. Create Consistent Branding
Now, all of the above is great, but one of the key parts of learning how to market a small business is to set yourself up as a recogniseable company is to be consistent in terms of branding. Branding itself is a bit of a sweeping term. Everything from the pictures you post on your Instagram, the colours your use on your website through to the words you use to speak to your customers helps to determine your brand.
Creating that persona we mentioned earlier is a good way to help influence your branding, so don’t forget about that!
And, once you’ve defined who you are, how you look and how you speak to people, it’s key to make sure you’re consistent across all your communications. That way, when your customers look at your website or read your content they feel like they already know you.
You can use a local marketing agency to help you build and design your brand to suit your business.
7. Work With Google AdWords
Google AdWords is a nifty tool from our friends over at Google, which helps you to promote your products when customers search for certain keywords.
So if you’re selling bespoke cushions for example, you place an ad on the keywords ‘bespoke cushions’ and lo and behold, your website will pop up as an ad in Google, above all the other websites.
Now, it’s important to remember this isn’t free. You have to pay for every click you receive on your site, but with the right know-how and the right keywords, you can make some great sales from AdWords.
Balancing cost vs benefit can be a difficult one with this, but check out our course on Paid Marketing, and we can help you maximise your investment into increased sales.
8. Build Up Some Excitement
You’re all set up online, you’ve got SEO and Paid Marketing under your belt, and now it’s time to accelerate growth and drive sales. A great milestone in any marketing plan for a small business is always a competition.
Use email, social media or the blog page on your website to generate some buzz around a competition with a free giveaway, or a special one-off discount.
Don’t forget though, have a plan. This is about you getting more followers on your social media, or more sales. So make sure your competition involves sharing and tagging friends and spread the word about what you’re doing.
9. Start Local
Everyone loves a homegrown success story and supporting local is fast becoming a huge trend in industry, so why not make the most of it.
Most towns and villages have meetings where local business owners can meet up and connect with each other.
On top of that, local news is big news, so approach your town newspaper and tell them about your blossoming business and before you know it, you could be seeing your name in lights… or on the front page of your town paper!
The success of this can vary depending on what you’re selling, but you’d be surprised at how well it pays off. Getting the people close to you excited about what you’re doing is a fantastic way to build up a local client base, and word travels quickly about a great product or service that’s come from a local.
So, when thinking about how to market a small business, don’t forget about going local.
10. Empower Yourself
If you’re new to all this, it can seem a little daunting. Making your mark and getting the word out there is no easy job! But, at Harry Smith Marketing, we’re here to tell you that it’s nothing you can’t do yourself!
When thinking about how to market for a small business, you may think about big companies, who dominate the market but don’t worry about them. They’ve got the luxury of thousands of dollars and teams of experts, marketing a small business is a completely different ball game, but if you know how to do it yourself, you’ll see some amazing results.
Get in touch to learn about how Harry Smith Marketing can help you market your small business.