One of the most critical elements in a successful business, is developing a marketing plan that delivers great results. Whilst larger businesses have a huge marketing budget (and generally waste a great deal, if not all of it on “brand building”), the smaller business just don’t have the funds and must make their marketing count.
The key for smaller businesses is to make their marketing budget work harder and most importantly, achieve results.
This means that testing is essential. And yet many businesses make the foolish mistake of trying just one way, with one marketing tool. Great marketers know that testing over and over proves to be the only way of finding the right formula for your marketing success. So, instead of being disheartened if a particular advert isn’t working, change one element and test again.
Many small business owners are frightened of marketing. They’re intimidated by marketing. Get over it and try things – you never know what will happen. At least by trying you are stepping out of your comfort zone.
It would be unwise to spend an entire budget on one particular type of marketing, so here are 5 ideas to help you reshape your marketing approach, develop your marketing plan and move your business towards greater success:
1) Don’t waste time on things you are not good at.
If you do, you probably won’t do them well and the passion you have for your business will not shine through. For example, if you are uncomfortable selling, then try educating your audience instead. Use email, small posters, anything that may provide good information to your potential customer to help them select the right goods/services. After all, your business should ALWAYS be thinking its pospects / customers, solving their problems, NOT your needs.
2) Do something different or unique to you.
How can you let customers know they are valued? If you meet someone at a networking event, what can you send them that is useful? This could be a nice message that is sent by post with a few suggestions that could help their business. Most people who attend networking events only follow up by email. They’ll be surprised to receive something in the post. It sets you apart from others and most likely they’ll remember you because of this. My wife once received a spade in the post (yes, it was relevant to her job at the time) – it was over 15 years ago, yet she can still remember the name of the company who sent it!
3) Be a leader to drive your business forward.
You cannot hope to become successful if you continually sit in the confines of your office/shop. Go to networking events and meet people. Get involved with the local Chamber of Commerce or similar organisations. By spreading your net, you never know who will be recommending you.
4) Say thank you.
This is perhaps one of the strangest comments you’ll read here but let’s consider this before dismissing it. Most customers do not receive a thank at any time for spending their money with you. Why not? A simple thank you email, perhaps with a piece of information about the goods they purchased could go a long way. Maybe, there are related or complimentary products that are known to enhance the goods already purchased? The thank you note could act as a great reminder to the recipient and lead to other orders. Amazon use this often and so do the staff at McDonalds. How often have they “up sold” you from a simple burger order to add fries and a drink? One of the ways to grow a business is to increase the frequency of purchase. If your customer purchases again then you have achieved this.
5) Be bold and change what doesn’t work.
It doesn’t matter how experienced you may be at marketing, there are times when a particular tool surprises you and works brilliantly or unexpectedly produces zero results! It’s OK. Try different ways of making the tool work, but after many attempts it may be that you simply need to use a different marketing tool. Perhaps an online marketing tool isn’t working. Maybe there’s a way of taking the same principle and testing it offline. It always worth a try!
What small business owners need to remember about creating their marketing plan is that it needs to revolve around them making them and/or their business visible. If you cannot be seen then you cannot be successful. Sometimes simple things that creates a good impression with customers is all you need.
At the end of the day a business exists to create and retain a customer. To be successful, you MUST be achieving this and it’s always best to find ways that fall within your comfort zone. Good luck.5 Ways To Make The Most Of Your Marketing Budget Click To Tweet