As an entrepreneur or small business owner, one of the biggest challenges that lies between the failure or successful launch of an endeavour is the marketing plan or strategy used for the promotion of your business.
Having a unique and saleable idea is key, but just as important is getting it out there where people will be able to find it. It’s no surprise that the internet never sleeps and that there is always someone online to pitch to, but a vast amount of competition means it is often tough to make your voice heard.
To stand out you’re going to need more than a dash of creativity, quick decision making skills and the ability to plan out a campaign. If you’re the type of person who can do this then take a look at the follow methods of marketing yourself or your small business.
1. Physical Cards
Many might be quick to point out that physical advertising is dead, but this simply isn’t the case. According to Forbes, print advertising is still very much alive and kicking.
While the internet has cornered the market slightly in terms of advertising, traditional marketing offers a different experience which consumers engage with more. In fact, text shown on a digital screen is read up to 30% slower than printed paper.
Emerging businesses should therefore utilize print advertising for longer engagements with customers, and that means getting creative. Think business cards, bus banners, store signs or even postcards.
Ironically, one of the best places to source print advertising is on the internet as there are numerous companies, such as Saxoprint, that offer products and services online.
Blogging is a fairly ubiquitous activity for most businesses and websites, and for good reason. It is a platform that enables you to provide fresh and relevant content to your customers and readers.
For this you’ll need to find a niche that hasn’t been covered by your industry, and one that you can write about in depth so that it provides value to visitors.
This will not only give them a reason to keep coming back to your site, but it’ll also attract new readers and potential customers. A blog is also invaluable for attracting visitors via Google through search engine optimisation.
This entails using relevant keywords and phrases to ensure that your site appears as close to the front page of a search engine as possible when people are searching for something relevant to your business.
The benefits of this are huge, and can direct heaps of new traffic and visitors to your site.
3. Have a Functional Website
Websites are no longer just the advertising plaque of the information age, they’re your A-frame, contact details, and pretty much the entire store.
Having a functional, intuitive website that is easy to use and navigate is almost a prerequisite for owning a business. It gives you a place to explain your business, offer demonstrable proof of your services or products to your clients and gives consumers the chance to purchase goods or services directly from your landing page.
In fact, eCommerce is now so big that many businesses have forgone a traditional brick and mortar store entirely, and exist solely online.
If you choose to go the eCommerce route, however, you’re going to have to make sure you have excellent customer service (which you should have anyway) and respond promptly to any and all queries, questions and complaints. Not only that, but your site should be modern, professional and aesthetically pleasing.
4. Utilise Social Media Across the Spectrum
While some might only see social media for its surface value of connecting friends, the vast majority recognise its powerful marketing capabilities. In fact, according to Social Media Examiner, 97% of marketers currently participate in social media.
The main benefit that social media offers over traditional marketing is that it allows you to connect with your audience. Your fans and followers are able to show their appreciation or dissatisfaction with your current business model via likes and comments and you’re then able to directly, in real time, reply back to them.
This allows you to build a relationship with your customers and show them that you care about their opinions. This in turn allows you to gain valuable inside into your customers’ preferences and buying habits.
With over 500 million Tweets, 4.5 billion likes on Facebook and 95 million photos and videos uploaded to Instagram daily, there’s a ton of data that can be used to systematically tweak your business model according to your customers’ desires, habits and preferences.
5. Don’t Be Afraid of Email Marketing
Email marketing allows for flexible, cost effective and easy to measure results. Much like social media, it allows you to deliberately reach out to your audience instead of waiting for them to come to you, especially across a large geographic range.
It’s best used for newsletters, sending out notices of new products or services as well as talk about recent business successes and (if you have them) addressing shareholders.
Keep in mind that emails should be used as part of a marketing campaign, and shouldn’t just be sent out on a whim, but rather as part of a carefully planned and managed strategy.
Also, use emails sparingly. As effective as this strategy can be in keeping clients and customers up to date, it’s also very easy to overstep your boundaries and come off as a spammer.
Here’s a quick recap of the most effective ways of marketing as an entrepreneur:
- Physical Cards
- Have a Functional Website
- Utilize Social Media Across the Spectrum
- Don’t Be Afraid of Marketing