(Extracted from ECommerce Editor's Choice -Michelle Cross)
4 marketing tips to catapult your business to success
In today’s competitive world, the biggest competitive advantage any small business can have is that people know about you – who you are and what you do.
As a small business, you may think it is impossible or expensive get the word out about what you do. That’s a myth. You don’t need fads, gimmicks, a massive budget or the most creative agency to build awareness. You simply need a strong marketing strategy to reach your potential customers and keep them engaged.
Follow these timeless tips to help get the word out about your business and create a competitive advantage:
People won’t know who you are if you don’t communicate with them. Start by getting the basics right and knowing your target market. Rolling out campaign after campaign without knowing your audience is like buying a gift for a complete stranger – how do you know they’ll like it? Take a minute to get to know the target market mistakes and how to avoid them.
With your target market front of mind, create a plan of regular communication. Don’t make the mistake of assuming that one marketing activity will yield results. In today’s age, consumers need to be exposed to your message at least three times before they will buy from you. Approach your customer from different angles; letterbox advertising, print, packaging, outdoor, in-store, email, social media, radio, PR and so on. But be smart and always focus your efforts on those target markets that will give you the best returns.
2. Know who your competitors are
Competition is good for business. As Walt Disney said, “I have been up against tough competition all my life. I wouldn’t know how to get along without it.” Watch them and get to know them: what they offer, who they target, how they appeal to their customers and how they market their offering. By understanding their strengths and weaknesses, you will better understand your own and will be able to develop a plan of attack.
3. Be committed
If you only put half effort into your marketing, it will show. Think of marketing like going to the gym. You need to schedule it into your calendar and stay committed if you want to get results. It’s easy to become discouraged if you’re not seeing results immediately, but just remember: marketing is a marathon, not a sprint. The key to successful marketing is repetition, repetition, repetition. Even if you only run a couple of small marketing campaigns through the year, stick with it and get your brand in front of your target market on a regular basis.
4. Measure, test and improve
The key to successful marketing for any business is flexibility. By monitoring and measuring your campaigns from the start, you can quickly identify if something isn’t working as you’d hoped. If this happens, you can put the brakes on the activity and re-allocate the budget, or refine and improve.
Wherever possible, take the opportunity to test your marketing first. Take letterbox advertising – by A/B testing different headlines to small areas, you can use the results to determine the final campaign. Once the campaign is out there, don’t be afraid to ask for feedback from your customers.
Remember, marketing doesn’t have to be difficult or expensive. It simply takes some good old-fashioned dedication, patience, and creativity.About the Author:
Posted on May 5, 2015 by Guest Author in eCommerce, Editor's Choice, Education, Featured, Growing, Hot Tips, Managing, Marketing, Marketing, Opinion, Small Business, Start-Up, Strategy, Technology
Michelle Cross is General Manager for Local Direct Network, the small business marketing arm of Salmat.