Everything you need to know about marketing for a Small Business
Updated: Mar 25
Whether you are a new or existing business, marketing is a crucial tool to help you meet your target audience, increase brand awareness and increase profits.
At its very core, marketing is about spreading a brand's message through multiple platforms to reach an intended audience in hopes of creating sales and or relationships with the customers. For small businesses getting your message out there can feel like a difficult and daunting task, especially with the sheer scale of businesses doing the same thing.
In this post, we are going to share an overview of everything you need to know about marketing as well as some hints and tips to ensure your marketing efforts are effective. We will cover basic marketing practices including Social Media, SEO and Email Marketing.
1. Utilising social media
With over 53 million active social media users in the UK social media can be one of the easiest and most accessible methods small businesses can employ to reach new and existing customers. There's a host of sites such as Instagram, Facebook, Twitter; and the newest member to the team, Tik Tok, that allows for businesses to share content, information and talk directly to consumers.
Benefits of using social media
• Ease of use
• Direct communication with customers
• Easy to track and monitor what is/ isn’t working
• Low cost
How to get started:
Finding the right social media platforms to use
Whilst many businesses will opt for an omnichannel approach you might find that one social media platform works best for your business. For example; if you’re a Business to Consumer organisation that is selling trending fashion items to fashion-conscious 18-25-year-olds you might find platforms such as Instagram or even Tik Tok. Instagram offers a creative outlet for marketing activities and is a good touchpoint for the intended market a high number of 18-25-year-olds use the platform daily. Whereas, if you’re a Business to Business organisation selling professional products or services a platform such as LinkedIn, which offers a more professional atmosphere, might be best suited to your business.
Set SMART goals
Each business will have a different goal when using social media. For example, do you want to increase your following? Or improve your customer service? Or maybe you want to improve brand awareness. Whatever your goal might be we suggest that they should develop SMART goals for your social media marketing campaigns.
SMART goals are specific, measurable, actionable, realistic, and time-bound. It’s all well and good to set up a social media platform but setting Smart goals will ensure that you are utilizing social media. An example of this could be you want to increase brand awareness; your Smart goal might then be to get 20 shares on each Facebook post within two months.
Know your audience
To spread your message and implement effective social media marketing, or any form of marketing, it is important to know who your intended audience is. For this, we suggest creating targeting buyer personas. Buyer personas are ‘fictional’ customers a business uses when creating marketing campaigns to ensure the intended customers’ needs and wants are met.
Look at your analytics
Once your business is on social media it is important to regularly check your meeting your goals. Today we are very lucky as social media platforms have analytical tools built-in for business accounts which make it easy for you to see which posts have performed the best.
Once you've looked at your analytics it is important to refine your message and your content. Have a look and see which posts lead to sales, likes, comments or increased your following.
2. Understand SEO
SEO or 'Search Engine Optimisation is a method used to help increase your search ranking on specific query words. For example, if you're an independent candle business, a customer might search for query words such as local candles, small candle business etc. In which your business will, hopefully, appear on the first page of results if you implement SEO.
Benefits of SEO:
• Increase visibility
• Increase sales
• No direct cost
How to get started:
There are two main techniques used in SEO; on-page SEO and off-page SEO. On-page SEO covers all the content that is on your websites such as images, website structure and even the website address. Off-page typically refers to anything, you guessed it, that's not on your site such as backlinks. Backlinks are links to your website from another, for example, if a local newspaper writes about your business and uses a link to your website that would be a backlink.
Improving on-page SEO
One of the easiest ways to increase your SEO on your website is to look at the keywords you are using as these can help your ranking on the google search page. There are plenty of tools online to help you with your keywords including Google's analytical software.
Another way to improve your on-page SEO is by optimising your content. You should use short URLs that hold the keywords selected, write compelling descriptions and tags for your products, tag the images used as well as blog posts.
Improving off-site SEO
The best way to improve off-site SEO is through credible and trustworthy backlinks. You can use your existing network to help get you started. This could be by offering a review to a supplier and asking them to include your website within it or as we said prior if local businesses or newspapers write content on your business to include a link to your website.
3. Email marketing
Email marketing is a pivotal part of marketing for all businesses. Email marketing is simply targeting your audience through emails to either boost sales, communication, or brand presence by providing customers with relevant and valuable information
Benefits of email marketing:
• Building relationships
• Increase brand awareness
• Creating leads
• Increasing sales
How to get started
It is important to first create an email marketing strategy to ensure your email stands out for the thousands of emails your customer might receive. To do this it is important to know your customer, you should use your buyer personas to help you frame your email campaigns to know who you’re intending to reach.
As with any form of marketing, it is also important to set goals when creating your email strategy and email campaigns. For example, you might set your goal to have an average opening rate of 17% or a click-through average of 10%. When setting these goals, it is important to look at the average rates for your industry as this can vary.
Getting people to sign up
One of the most important elements to enable email marketing is to offer ways customers can sign up to receive emails. This can either be through your website or social media pages. Once people have started to sign up for your emails you can create an emailing list for targeted individuals for each campaign.
Once you have created your email strategy you'll need to create your email campaigns. Some examples of what these could be are; welcome emails, newsletters, product announcements or event invitations. Whilst the visual design of your email is important to grab the attention of your customers the information included must offer value,
After all, what is a beautifully designed email campaign if it does not offer any value to the customers?
Measure and reflect
As with all marketing efforts measuring each campaign with key performance indicators set in the strategy will ensure your current and future campaigns work effectively. You should reflect on the analytics for these campaigns and make tweaks and changes accordingly. For example, if you notice the click-through rate is low for a campaign, think about why this could be. Could it be the wording of the email? Did you include relevant and accessible links?
4. Offline marketing
Whilst the above mentioned online marketing avenues are extremely useful for small businesses there are additional ways you can reach your customers. Some examples include local newspapers, radio adverts or even outdoor adverts. One drawback with these is they can be costly depending upon the length of campaigns, location advertisement etc.
A more cost-effective method of using offline marketing is utilising your connections through networking particularly if you are a B2B organisation.
Benefits of networking
• Increase connections
• Create new customer relationships
• Learn from others' expertise
At Dream High, we run monthly open coffee mornings to help local businesses connect and support one another. Everyone is welcome, whether you're a long-standing business or just starting. To find out more check out our social media channels or enquire on our website.
We hope this blog has been helpful, if you have any more questions or queries please don't hesitate to get in contact with us by either emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org Or calling us on 07738559170. Alternatively, we have a contact form on our website.