Marketing Your Small Business: What You Need to Know to Run a Successful SME

marketing your business

marketing your businessAs a little fish in a big pond that seems to get bigger every day, being a small business is challenging. Getting a foothold in the marketplace and spreading awareness of your brand can be difficult, especially if you don’t have a big budget for marketing a small business against competition from big industry leaders, other small businesses, and increased competition from global entities.

It’s only natural that a business wants positive exposure to as many people as possible, so knowing how to market your small business is crucial. Whether you use social media to engage with new users, create your own blog to engage with consumers on a personal level, or utilize SEO in your operations, here are the 9 things you need to know to succeed.

Know Your Audience

First and foremost, it’s crucial that you know your target market.

  • What are they like?
  • What media outlets do they use?
  • What message is likely to resonate with them?

In order to be a prospect for your business, consumers must have need, money, authority, and desire. Reaching consumers outside this market is not only ineffective, it wastes scarce resources of money, time, effort.

Take time to conduct market research so you understand what type of customer is right for your business; possessing the necessary characteristics outlined above. Once you’ve figured out your target market, you can develop an effective marketing plan that ensures your brand is seen by the right people with the right message.

There are several questions you should ask yourself to help work out your audience, such as who they are, what do they do, and what benefits they want from using your products and services.

Keep Content Relevant

How many times have you scrolled through a website and clicked off because you got bored?

With so much choice available on the internet, consumers can simply go elsewhere in search of content that’s entertaining, informative, or interesting, so it’s crucial that you pull out all the stops to ensure your content meets their expectations.

No matter your market, you need to lure readers in from the get-go, so the moment they land on your website, they need to stay interested in what you have to deliver. You likely have only 15-seconds to capture their interest before they leave for something that better fits their needs.

Consumers also want things laid out in front of them, so make sure your website is easy to navigate, otherwise, you may lose custom.

Build Your Reputation

Reputation is everything in the business world. If consumers aren’t happy with your services, can go online and share negative experiences with your company, which is incredibly harmful to your brand. And, remember, negative word of mouth travels much faster than positive things about your brand.

Although you may think otherwise, ‘the customer is always right’ is always correct, so building your reputation can not only make customers and clients trust you, but it can also sway potential customers in the right direction.

Use SEO

If you haven’t heard about SEO, which stands for Search Engine Optimization, then chances are you’re not getting anywhere near as much traffic as you would if your content were SEO-optimized.

The more customers who visit your website, engage with your content on social media or click on your ads, the more traffic Google will send to your site. Effective search engine optimization requires careful crafting of social and blog posts to ensure you create fresh, valuable content on a consistent basis. This helps rank your page higher than competitors, meaning consumers are much more likely to click on your page over your rivals.

To help increase traffic to your page, make sure that you use keywords that are relevant to your brand. You may be interested in using Google Ads to help you reach more customers, making it a great way to market your business.

Use Social Media

No matter your target market, chances are a large percentage of them have a Facebook account or an account on another social platform.

kpi for success

With billions of people using social media every day, a recent study found the average user spends nearly 2.5 hours per day using one platform or another.  Thus, using social media to marketing your small business is a no-brainer.

To get started, you must set up your own business page on a few platforms (don’t try to do them all as you’ll quickly find yourself overwhelmed). This allows you to take advantage of opportunities for owned social media. You earn additional exposure when you engage users on your desired platform and you can use paid media in the form of advertising, which is especially valuable on social platforms as it’s highly targeted.

Stay consistent with created and curated content on your page, otherwise, customers lose interest. The more people who engage with you through likes, shares, and positive comments on your platform, the better.

On your business page, make sure to include links to your website so customers know where to go to purchase your products. Some platforms, such as Facebook, even allow you to collect subscribers or sell directly from the platform.

Using social media is also a great way to communicate with your target audience. As customers can leave comments and messages. Monitoring your social platforms is critical to ensure queries and complaints are addressed quickly.

Optimize Your Emails

We all know how annoying it is to get an abundance of spam emails to the point when the US and EU both have laws governing email marketing to reduce the spread of spam. However, recent studies show that between 47% and 91% of consumers prefer email as a form of communication, especially for business purposes.

successful email marketing
Image courtesy of Data Mentors

With email marketing showing no signs of slowing down, it’s important that you understand how effective email marketing is as a strategy for marketing your small business.

Email marketing requires consideration of several factors, such as sender address to ensure your emails are coming from your business name; the subject line, which should be relevant to the content in the email; as well as the design of the email to ensure it’s optimized for mobile viewing.

Research Competitors

A bit of competition never hurt anyone. Having strong rivals is positive in business just as it is in sports competition, where competitive pressures help you stay motivated, innovative, customer-focused, and determined to succeed.

Competition is also a source of inspiration. If you’ve noticed a decline in sales, why not check out what your competitors are doing to lure customers? Check out their websites and social media pages to provide some much-needed inspiration, which should help attract more customers to your business. Make sure not to steal their ideas outright; instead, put your own spin on things that might help create a unique selling point so your brand stands out from the crowd.

Create a Blog

While must stay current with your business website, that’s just not enough in today’s competitive marketplace.

Creating your own business blog is another great way to market your brand, helping you reach more consumers than ever before. Filling your blog with the latest developments in your company, the types of products and services you offer, as well as the option to communicate with your customers are key factors that you must consider.

There are various companies on the market, such as WordPress, who offer a range of templates and designs to get your website up and running with little to no coding. While the program is free to use, business owners may purchase more tailored templates and other services to enhance the user experience.

It’s important to stay consistent with your blog, otherwise, customers will switch off and lose interest in what you have to say. Also, try to incorporate plenty of imagery and videos into your page. We all know how tedious it can be to read through large blocks of text, so breaking things up and having something to look at is helpful.

Learn New Skills

As a small business owner, there is always room for improvement. It’s only natural that you will make mistakes along the way, especially in the beginning stages, so to get your company off to a good start, you may want to consider enrolling in a business management course that will teach you key skills and techniques that you can use to your advantage. Findcourse.co.uk lists business management training from a range of top providers, which is designed to provide professionals with the skills and techniques they need for career advancement, business services, and new business technologies.

Identifying your target audience, creating a business page on social media platforms, enrolling on a course to learn business management skills, as well as using search engine optimization are just a few things that you can do when it comes to marketing and running your small business effectively.

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Hausman and Associates, the publisher of MKT Maven, is a full-service marketing agency operating at the intersection of marketing and digital media. Check out our full range of services.