It doesn’t matter if your business is exclusively online or has a physical presence; once you have a website, this marketing strategy is workable for you. Most business owners are not marketing extraordinaire’s, so it can be daunting to attempt to navigate the digital marketing world without the smarts. There is an abundance of help available in the form of experts, but it will cost you. If, like most small businesses the budget is tight, try this workable marketing strategy and let us know how you get on!
Branding is something that a company might think that it has, but perhaps it doesn’t necessarily translate to the customer. Having a business name and logo doesn’t automatically qualify as branding; an effective brand must speak on a unique level to the client.
Effective branding has staying power; take the example of Coca Cola. Their brand is heavily aligned with family, friends and happy occasions. In fact, this ethos has carried into their slogan of “Open Happiness”. Sure, Coca Cola rots teeth and can contribute to obesity, yet I still align the brand with positive feelings. In saying this, how do you go about creating a strong brand, and the customer awareness that comes with it.?Here are a few steps.
Examine your business background, and the reasons why you decided to start. It may be down to sheer passion for your industry, or an ambition rooted in closing a market gap. Nutting out the origins of your business, gives a good foundation on which to build your brand.
Have a chat with your customers and try to ascertain their reasons for liking/not liking your business. A less confrontational way to do this market research may be through a survey, easily created in Survey Monkey.
Examine your competition. What do you identify as their strengths and weaknesses? How do you differentiate your offering from theirs?
Now that you have examined your background, customers and competition, it should be easier to create your brand. I will roll with a cookie store example to demonstrate the implementation of a strong brand.
Cookie Store Example
When I did some thinking about why I started my cookie company, my reasons were very strongly aligned with my interest in baking. My customers said that whilst they loved my bespoke, unique choice of cookies, they sometimes found it frustrating that I ran out of flavours. When I looked at my competition in the area, I noticed that the other cookie companies were mass producers, and offered the standard variety of flavours.
On reflection of all of this, I decided to create a brand based around the idea of luxury, and thus rarity. My cookies are so decadent, that they are highly sought after (putting a positive spin on my customer frustrations until I can afford to hire a staff member to help bake more!) I have built my brand into my website, highlighting the low supply and high demand. I am therefore able to price myself a little higher than my competitors, and there is an elusive quality about my product as it is not mass produced. People need to have my cookies, as they are hard to come by.
I do not own a cookie company; this is just an example. But if you know anyone that does own such a business, please send me their way! Self-confessed cookie monster right here!
Now that you have created your brand, it is time to wrap that into your content. But first, it’s time for a content audit. An audit of content requires thorough examination of each page on your website and an analysis of what works and what doesn’t. It amazes me how often I stumble across a website that doesn’t clearly outline what it offers. Lack of pricing, product information and the fundamental purpose for the website can be very frustrating for a visitor. That’s why an audit is important. If you are using convoluted language, this can be a pain point.
Whether you are a B2C or a B2B, people generally respond better to easy to follow conversational English. There is something of a myth that exists in the B2B world. It is that selling to business involves using complex technical language, with a healthy dose of corporate clichés thrown in; bandwidth anyone? The reality is that business people are normal people too, so make sure your website content speaks to the average person.
Overarching Marketing Strategy
OK so lets assume that you have your brand sorted, and your content is awesome. You will now need to probably think about having an overarching marketing strategy; a strategy that is ongoing. There are a myriad of options, and I really advise you to only focus on one or two to start with, and do these right. Some of these strategies are –
- Social Media
- Pay Per Click
- Paid Advertising
- Email Marketing
- Local Engagement
- Partner Links
I won’t go into each of these on an individual basis, but I will choose Local Engagement to discuss in more depth. This is an interesting one, as the idea is that by engaging locally offline, you can build your online awareness. The simplicity of this is beautiful. It is so easy to get caught up in the digital world, and forget that there are real people at the end of our transactions. By networking and engaging with business and customers locally, you can do incredible things for your business. Never underestimate the power of word of mouth.
Most of my business success has come from word of mouth between my customers, and my confidence in shouting my business offerings from the rooftops. I have never been shy to ask people to spread a good word about me if they were happy with my service. Similarly, I use any engagement where possible to promote myself and my content writing business.
Confidently marketing yourself as the best there is in the business can be incredible for boosting client numbers. People are attracted to confidence, and it shows a competence that customers need if they are going to part with their hard-earned cash.
So, there you have it; a simple marketing strategy for the small business owner. What do you think of this? Do you believe that you can use this model, or are you currently implementing similar marketing strategies?