Competing against the big guns is a real problem for start-ups and small businesses. Budgets are limited and it’s difficult to know how that budget will be best spent. Unfortunately, a fair amount of it will be experimental; there is no set formula for marketing success.
However, this doesn’t mean that you can’t learn from the success and failures of others. There are best practices when it comes to marketing which make the most sense.
To understand this, we need to step back. The common mistake many small business owners and entrepreneurs make is equating marketing with advertising. This isn’t the full picture.
Marketing should always be about adding value and importantly, how you do this. This means marketing is a far more complex picture involving things such as competitor analysis, market research and targeting. It is an investment in business growth.
How much to spend on marketing
It will take some trial and error, and you will also likely spend more or less at different times in the business lifecycle. However, on average, UK small businesses spend 16% of their budget on marketing.
However, in your early days you will likely need to spend more. Marketing is your key to getting up and growing quickly. You cannot start a business without investing in it.
Start with your brand
The ideal starting point is to think carefully about your brand (beyond the logo). Think about the demographics you are appealing to and build a brand persona. This should then inform all marketing endeavours from the font you use on your website to the social media channels you use. Your branding should easily convey your USP.
Move on to your website
With a good idea of your branding, you should be ready to move on to using your website as a marketing channel. It should be user-friendly and easy to navigate, as well as mobile responsive.
Then move on to Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). There is a great deal to leverage here, so you may well need to get an SEO guru in on the act who understands about everything from page load speeds to meta data and keyword analysis.
You can also use your website as a platform for your content marketing, which in turn will feed through to your social media activity.
Social media marketing
Using your content marketing (such as blogs, videos and infographics) you can then use social media as another digital marketing channel. This is a valuable way of building your brand as well as loyalty to it.
With social media it is very difficult to know when to stop. It’s a beast which can be hugely unwieldy for many small businesses. Therefore, choose which channel is most appropriate for your business and only expand to other platforms if you have the resources to do it well.
Email marketing is often dismissed as the dinosaur of the marketing world. In reality, it’s actually extremely potent especially when used in line with GDPR compliance and segmentation. It’s cost-effective and easy for small businesses to use.
Other small business marketing methods
In addition you can consider other digital marketing methods such as Pay Per Click (which puts you high in search engine results). Similarly you can pay for adverts on social media.
Lastly, you can turn to various offline marketing methods. Direct advertising through leaflets, sponsorship, radio ads and publication advertising are just some of the options.
What marketing endeavours proved the most worthwhile to your business? If you would like more information about how Team Organic can boost your business, contact us.