When you establish your own small business, there’s an awful lot to bear in mind and a seemingly never-ending list of tasks that you’re going to have to carry out in order to get things up off the ground and running. But even once you’ve achieved this, the hard work isn’t over. In fact, you could say that it’s only just begun, as now you have to ensure that the consumer market is aware of the products and services that you have on offer and want to purchase them, thus making you a healthy profit and keeping your business out of the red and in the black. One area that you really need to focus on is marketing. But what actually does this entail? Well, marketing is essentially the practice of encouraging consumers to purchase your products over a competitor’s. While this may sound simple, consumers are relatively complex individuals and not only do you have to make them aware of your product in the first place in order to start convincing them that it’s something that they need, but you have to be very careful about how you go about encouraging them to purchase your products. Nobody wants to feel pushed into a purchase, but at the same time, if you lie back and do nothing, they’re likely to run straight into your competitors’ arms. You’re going to have to do a whole lot of market research in order to fully understand what your target audience wants and how they want it presented to them. You also want to ensure that you get the whole marketing process right the first time around. It can often prove to be a pretty costly business, and you want to get it spot on so that revenue from sales encouraged by it can easily cover the investment you’ve put into your marketing campaigns. So, to get you started on the right foot, here are a few marketing ideas that you might like to try out for your small business!
Search Engine Marketing
Nowadays increasing numbers of business people are taking their companies online. Whether this means starting up as an online-only business, making the move from brick and mortar business to an online-only business, or operating online at the same time as running a brick and mortar company. There are various reasons for this. Operating online means that you open your products and services up to a worldwide audience. Near enough anyone with an internet connection anywhere in the world can access your page, browse your products and (if you offer international shipping) start making purchases. It also means that you are open for business around the clock. While a standard store requires constant supervision during opening hours and will generally operate between nine in the morning and five in the evening, web users can use your webpage at any time of the day or night, making orders around the clock. But if you’ve put a whole lot of work into developing a website, you can’t automatically expect that people will find their way to it. In fact, many business owners don’t thoroughly consider how they’re going to direct traffic to their page and end up feeling disappointed when they have few hits when they launch their site. The answer to your problems in regards to this is search engine marketing. Think about it. If you’re personally looking for products online, how do you find them? You input keywords into a search engine and generally opt for one of the first options that appear. Search engine marketing, or SEM, uses various specialist techniques such as keywords, tracking, landing pages, creative marketing, reporting, and management to ensure that as much traffic is directed to your page through search engines as possible. The most important and solid strategy for SEM tends to be a strong keyword strategy, so let’s focus on that one aspect for now. You should collaborate with SEM professionals to use professional keyword search tools combined with their own years of experience to find the best keywords that you should use in your webpage to drive traffic in your direction. They will set up broad keywords, phrases, or exact keywords matched with negative keywords in order to balance volume and quantity as well as targeting specific countries or devices.
Social Media Marketing
Nowadays, almost everyone with a smartphone, tablet, laptop or desktop computer has social media profiles set up and these numbers are constantly increasing. Just look at published figures pertaining to social media usage. Facebook has over one billion active profiles, Instagram is used by at least one hundred million individuals every single month, and Twitter has an average of three hundred and thirty million users online every month too! These are the three main social media powerhouses that you need to focus on. While many people may well think that social media is solely for personal use, it should be noted that having a large social media presence and following can be extremely beneficial for your small business. In order for your company and its products to be on show to as many people online as possible, you should place them in areas where large numbers of people are directing their attention. In this case, focus on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter! Now, these platforms are designed to be user-friendly and extremely simple to use, as they are designed for ordinary members of the public who may not have extensive technological knowledge. This means that you can generally set them up alone without having to reach out for professional help. Simply set up new profiles on each of these platforms under the name of your brand. Most social media platforms now have options for business pages, so make use of these when they are available, as they have special features such as spaces to include business profiles, contact addresses, and store locators. Hopefully, your brand name will be free for a username, but if not remember that you can always incorporate dashes, underscores, or numbers into your username, so don’t be afraid to mix things up a little. Upload your branded logo as the page’s profile picture, write a short bio, and you’re ready to start posting. A good approach when it comes to fuelling your site with content is to reuse many of the product photographs and feature photographs from your website. You can’t expect to gain masses of followers straight away, so consider sponsoring posts. They will then be appear in more people’s feeds than just those who follow you. Thanks to the types of targeted advertising that many social media platforms use, your money should go far, as your ads will appear on the feeds of people who are already showing an active interest in the products you’re selling and competitor brands.
In-Person Marketing Campaigns
While these previous techniques may have a potentially wider reach, as they are based online and can be shared to people all around the world, sometimes the internet just doesn’t quite cut it when it comes to getting people to engage with your brand. Sure, it can raise brand awareness, but nobody gets to interact directly with your company or its products before handing over cash and committing to a sale. This can often put people off and is a big reason as to why brick and mortar commerce is still thriving despite the fact that E-commerce can generally offer goods at a lower price and comes hand in hand with the convenience of ordering from the comfort of your own home and having items delivered to the comfort of your own home at the click of a button. But you don’t need to leave in-person interaction to real life retail in commercial properties alone. You can engage in tangible marketing campaigns too. There are various ways to go about this, but nine times out of ten you will be most successful with any of these types of campaigns if you collaborate with promotional agencies. These are agencies who have hundreds or even thousands of promotional staff in their books who can be booked to carry out any of the following types of work: sampling (so potential customers can try your products out and get an idea of what they’re all about), demonstrating (so potential customers can see how products work), and data capture (this will involve entering customers into a competition of sorts in exchange for their contact details so you can contact them with future advertising and marketing campaigns).
These are just three types of marketing that you might want to engage with, but they are three of the most effective methods that are more likely to gather success first time round. Sure, you can try some more alternative and out-there approaches, but save these as side projects and make sure you get your product out there with these bread and butter marketing techniques. Then if your more daring pursuits succeed, they’re merely a bonus! Get started as soon as possible!