“No matter what size of business, successful marketing can be achievable”

There are hundreds of definitions about marketing and everyone has a perspective on what it is and what it should do – no doubt you have your own! But I think it’s fair to say most would agree marketing is about engaging with a group of customers to ultimately generate a sale, and beyond this, developing an on-going, relationship to ensure future sales.

Whatever your view, it would be naïve to think that marketing doesn’t play an integral part in business. However, when it comes to carrying out marketing particularly within a smaller business, it’s not always seen as accessible or justifiable.

As an experienced manager of marketing communications projects and a recent small business owner, I believe marketing should be accessible to all businesses and that it should be easy to implement. Here are some simple things to consider…

  1. Clarity

Be clear and concise on what it is you offer and what it is you want to promote to your customers and/or prospects. Try and sum this up in a single sentence. This becomes your proposition and the most important thing you want to get across in your marketing communications.

  1. Know your audience

It’s imperative to know who your target audience is. Who is most likely to buy your products/services? Who do you ideally want to sell your products to? Where are they? What do they do? What’s the best way of reaching them?

  1. Develop a consistent brand and identity

Create a brand identity (not just a logo, but a look and feel) for your business, which reflects the qualities of what you offer and resonates with your audience. Make sure this is promoted consistently on everything you produce, so that it is instantly recognizable and generates impact with your audience each time they come in to contact with it.

  1. Internal communications

Communicate your marketing objectives to your employees and stakeholders. It’s important that they have a clear understanding of what you want to achieve. If they are communicated to, they are much more likely to represent your brand and messaging in the right way and become advocates. It also helps to improve morale, which can’t be a bad thing!

  1. Which communications channels?

There are so many forms of marketing and channels to choose from, particularly with the digital world, opportunities are much greater. So how do you decide which ones to use?

Ask yourself, what are my main objectives from this activity? How do I effectively reach my target audience? How much can I invest in activity and what is my predicted ROI (return on investment)?

Create a communications plan, be willing to test different channels, review the results and learn from them.

  1. Drive traffic to your website

A website is a great starting point and arguably a ‘shop window’ accessible by a global market. However, don’t expect to create a website and generate loads of visitors to your site.

You need to actively promote your website and drive traffic to it. There are a number of ways in which you can do this through social media, PPC and SEO (search engine optimization) for example. But a key starting point is ‘content’ –content of your site has to be inline with what people will be searching for.

  1. Use social media wisely

Social media can be an amazingly powerful tool at developing online communities and advocates for your brand, if used in the correct way. You should however, have a clear objective on what you want social media to do and be able to manage this effectively.

  1. If you print it, use it!

Despite the digital revolution, there is still a huge demand for printed media, such as brochures and leaflets. As basic as it may seem… If you do produce material make sure it’s used! Don’t leave it in a cupboard where it becomes obsolete and a waste of money. Get it out to your customers and prospects!

Also, make sure you have an electronic version of everything you print so you can, post it on your website or seed on social media channels.

The same goes with the corporate video you produce for that exhibition, seed it online to help drive traffic to your website.

  1. Develop and maintain a database

Ensure you create and maintain a clean and comprehensive database of all your customers and prospects, so that you can segment and target these with relevant messages at key times.

This can prove to be an effective tool and something you can use to keep in regular contact with your customers to ensure their loyalty and repeat business.

  1. Work with your sales team

It’s imperative that marketing and sales work together as one. Their objectives should be the same – as one author quoted, the only difference is ‘Marketing wants Mr. Right, but sales wants ‘Mr Right’ now!.

Marketing should support the sales drive and provide the ‘ammunition’ required for sales to successfully meet their customer’s needs and close a sale. Likewise, the sales team should support the marketing activity to ensure maximum exposure and results!

  1. Marketing is a role

Finally, although you could argue that marketing is everyone’s role, marketing needs to be the responsibility of someone. If not, it becomes difficult to manage, review and learn from and marketing decisions become a ‘knee jerk’ reaction (and often an interruption), rather than an informed decision.

1017Marketing offers a marketing solution to small, medium sized businesses and has recently become a member of the Mid Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce. If you would like to discuss how 1017 might be able to support your business, please contact Samantha Willoughby on 07713161994 or email Samantha@1017marketing com, alternatively visit www.1017marketing.com