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7 Essentials for Marketing Your Small Business

Monday, October 01, 2018

Marketing is complex and often confusing. People who specialize in it take years to really understand how it all works and learn how to create effective marketing strategies. Furthermore, as a marketing expert myself, I always have to keep up with current trends in order to stay relevant and help small business owners reach their marketing goals.

Often, I’ve found that small business owners don’t have a good understanding of marketing, particularly the ever-expanding realm of digital marketing. Unfortunately, this means that most small business marketing campaigns are mediocre at best. Business owners often just don’t know if their strategies are working—46% are unsure and 17% know that what they’re doing definitely isn’t working.

So how can you buck this trend and be more successful in marketing your small business? Here are 7 essential tips to help you get on the right track and get ahead of your competition.

Social Networking is a Must

If you want to successfully market your business, you simply can’t afford to ignore social networking. Social media isn’t the be-all and end-all of marketing, but it does have a place in every modern marketing strategy. Get on the major platforms and be prepared to post consistently. That doesn’t mean you have to post every day, but it’s important to keep up with your fans regularly—this keeps you top of mind and encourages engagement.

Giveaways & Contests Are Your Friend

If money is tight, it can be difficult to give away products, but giveaways and contests can be a low-cost way to build brand awareness, drive website traffic, and increase social media engagement. Make the giveaway an exchange: a person will need to share a post with a friend, like the Facebook page, make a comment, or join your email list to qualify for the contest.

Great Content Often Markets Itself

Content marketing is popular because it works. When you establish yourself as an authority and put out valuable content that people want to read, it will market itself. That’s why SEO expert Brian Dean of Backlinko listed quality content as one of his essentials in a recent expert round-up covering the future of digital marketing.

Great content prompts people to share it with friends, check out your website, and eventually, buy. Even if they don’t check out your products right away, consistent good content will make an impression that people will remember.

Understand the Difference Between Marketing & Sales

Just like PR and marketing, marketing and sales are often lumped together into one category. However, they are very different and it’s important to know what those differences are before you try to launch a marketing campaign.

Marketing and sales assist one another, but they are not the same thing. Marketing generates leads, while sales closes the deal. You may not have a sales department, but if you have a retail store and people come into that store because of your marketing, they’re now in the sales phase. Your employees are “selling” them on your products, but your marketing got them in the door.

Leverage Big Data to Learn About Customer Behavior

As a small business owner, you may not have given big data much thought. While it’s true that in the early days of big data it was only accessible to large companies, today it’s easier than ever for small businesses to collect and leverage customer data. Learning more about your customer’s behavior is as easy as taking a crash course in Google Analytics and setting the software up to answer questions you have. What kind of customer is buying the most? Which products are the most popular? What time of day are people buying? Answering these questions with big data can help you design better marketing campaigns and cater to your customers’ needs.

If You Rebrand, You Must Remarket

Building a brand takes time, and although it’s always preferable not to rebrand, sometimes it’s the best choice for getting ahead of competitors or reviving your business. Even large companies have had to rebrand at certain points. Marvel is a good example of this. They started out in 1939 as a comic book brand, but have made their fortune in the 21st century through epic cinema experiences. Your rebranding would be on a much smaller scale, but the same principles apply: once you rebrand, no one will know—unless you market your new brand. It’s a lot of work and investment, but it’s a crucial rebranding step.

Finally, Listen to your Customers

This may be the most important tip of all: listen to your customers. Logic and intuition may work when you don’t have direct feedback, but getting and using that feedback whenever possible will help your business succeed. Listen, observe, and tailor your marketing to what your customers want.

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