In the initial stages of running a small business, founders and owner-managers will often wear several hats. You may be the HR manager, content creator and even cleaner, while marketing slinks further down the priorities list!
Even in a small business, marketing needs to be a focus to help you attract customers and retain existing new clients. As we creep closer to 2023, we’ve put together some DIY marketing tips for small businesses and SMEs that will help you raise awareness, increase visibility, and get ahead of the competition.
1. Establish a solid marketing & comms plan
A clear, concise marketing & comms plan is essential to spreading the good word about your small business. Investing a few hours in comms planning will ultimately save you time, lead to ROI and will ensure that key people in your organisation will know what’s going on and when!
Your plan should act as a roadmap for all communications and include key components like the brand’s vision, USPs, target audience and key messages. It’s crucial that these are discussed and agreed upon with the decision-makers in the business, as they will inform the planned marketing approach and subsequent content.
A robust marketing plan will outline the business’s most important marketing channels, such as social media, newsletters, website content and PR, and how these will be utilised to increase awareness and drive engagement and sales. It should also include any promotional or advertising activity, influencer engagement, and key dates for the business such as Small Business Saturday!
While small businesses should remain agile, it’s wise to map out around 6-months of activity in the plan so you know where to focus attention.
2. Invest in your website
According to research from Safaridigital, 97% of users searched online to find a local business in 2022. Having a digital presence is therefore a must for any business operating today, and this starts with an accessible, optimised website.
In many ways, your website is your shop window – it should reflect your brand’s identity, convey your key messages, highlight its USPs and talk directly to your target market. Equally, your small business website must be optimised for search engines to ensure that you can be easily found by potential customers on top search results pages. Site speed, responsiveness, user experience and content all play a part in getting you seen on Google’s results pages!
Now that you are driving traffic to your site, you want them to stay there. Producing regular, valuable content that speaks to your audience’s needs is one of the most effective ways of doing so.
Not sure what to write? Stay informed with what’s trending in your sector, and what your audience is interested in. Are there any recent news stories relating to your business? What keywords should you be targeting? – Knowing this will help you write great content.
Adding monthly informative, insightful blogs to your communications plan is one step all small businesses can take to boost their marketing potential.
3. Embrace your social side
Can you believe we spend an average of 2.5 hours browsing social media every day (Smartinsights)? What’s more, 55% of consumers learn about a new brand through social media, while 78% are willing to buy from a company they have had a positive interaction with on socials! Clearly, social media is a powerful tool for businesses to connect with new and existing audiences. As a social media agency in Edinburgh, here are a few easy ways to get a good social media channel up and running…
- Set up social media accounts on channels that are relevant to your audience. There is little point in creating a Facebook account if you know your target market only uses Instagram and Tik Tok.
- Whether you decide to post social media content daily or every few days, you need to remain consistent. By posting regularly you will maintain audience engagement in your business. Plus, Facebook prioritises accounts that share content frequently, so make sure you have a schedule and stick to it.
- Keep your audience in mind. Ensure you understand which social media channels are used by your target market, incorporate these and use the right tone of voice to engage with them in these spaces. Use some of the free in-built insights tools to explore demographics and audience behaviour. You can find things out about when they are most likely to be online as well as understand what content they are most likely to engage and interact with. Use the data to inform your social strategy and optimise what you are doing!
- Get creative. Have fun with it and show some personality where you can! Video content is performing well on social media platforms, so get your camera out and start filming!
- Keep up to date with trends and one eye on your competitors! Explore what’s popular as well as what is working for other similar businesses and see what you can apply to your activity. Maybe it’s a trending audio or filter that’s getting the likes, or a new challenge everyone’s getting involved in! Staying relevant and up to date will increase your chance of success on social media.
4. Promote your business on social media
Advertising on social media has the benefit of being a.) more cost-effective than traditional advertising, and b.) more targeted than traditional advertising for small businesses. Again, tapping into the data provided on apps like Facebook and Instagram, you can target audiences by interests, demographics, age range and gender as well as gain real-time insight into the ads that are driving engagement and getting hits!
When setting up a social media campaign, you need to consider every component – from the creative used in the advert, through to the copy on the website page set up for the specific use of this advert. Ask yourself what the end goal of the advert is – lead generation, paid conversions, brand awareness – and work back from there.
Very often small businesses will have to learn by doing and fortunately, META Business Suite has made it simple for anyone looking to advertise on social media by providing clear instructions and informative how-to video guides for even novices!
5. Grow your database
Email marketing can be an effective and relatively inexpensive means to promote your business to new and existing customers. Regular communications in the form of online newsletters foster a greater sense of customer loyalty and brand trust while providing you with the opportunity to share company updates, market new products and highlight discounts.
As with all your content, your newsletter should be useful to the reader, whether it be helpful tips and advice, expert insights, or exclusive information.
A regular newsletter also acts as a form of data capture, so invite prospects to sign up to hear more from your business and receive exclusive offers by displaying a pop-up on your website and social channels or by adding data capture to your check-out. Just make sure you comply with the necessary data protection rules. This helpful blog will keep you right!
Marketing for small businesses doesn’t have to be super complex or costly. But you do have to invest resources to drive ROI! With our simple starter tips, you can get your marketing strategy up and running and start building both a loyal following and driving results. While taking the first steps can feel daunting, if you don’t act your competition will first.
Need expert advice to nail the marketing for your small business? Get in touch with us here to discuss your marketing needs.