Small businesses are the backbone of the American economy. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, small businesses account for more than half of all private sector jobs and create two out of every three new jobs in America. Clearly, small businesses are an essential part of our economy, and marketing is critical for their success.
This blog post will discuss why marketing is so crucial for small businesses, how to create a marketing plan, and some ideas for small business owners to get started with their marketing efforts.
Why Is Marketing Important for Your Small Business?
There are several reasons why marketing is vital for small businesses. Marketing helps small businesses to:
– Reach new customers and grow their business
– Build brand awareness and credibility
– Differentiate themselves from their competitors
– Generate leads and sales
– Increase profits
What Is a Marketing Plan and How To Create One for Your Small Business?
A marketing plan is a road map that guides your marketing efforts. It includes your marketing goals, strategies, and tactics. Creating a marketing plan can seem daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. Here are four steps to help you create a successful marketing plan for your small business:
Step One: Define Your Target Market
The first step in creating your marketing plan is to identify your target market. Who are your ideal customers? What needs do they have that you can fill? When you know who you’re marketing to, you can create campaigns and messages that appeal to them.
It is important to get granular and specific to really understand your target customers or clients.
Step Two: Set Marketing Goals
The next step is to set some goals for your marketing efforts. What do you want to achieve with your marketing? Do you want to increase brand awareness, generate leads, or drive sales? Once you’ve identified your goals, you can start planning how to achieve them.
Step Three: Choose Your Marketing Tactics
Now it’s time to choose the tactics you will use to reach your target market and achieve your marketing goals. There are a variety of marketing channels small businesses can use, including print, online, mass media, and word-of-mouth. Select the channels that will work best for your business and your budget.
If you are just starting out, try to prioritize just one or two channels, based on where your target audience is most likely to be reached.
Step Four: Create a Marketing Budget
The final step in creating your marketing plan is to set a budget. How much money are you willing to spend on marketing each month or year? Once you’ve determined your budget, you can start allocating funds to different marketing activities.
Small business marketing doesn’t have to be expensive or time-consuming. Consider hiring a financial advisor to manage the finances and free up your time to focus on growing your business.
By following these steps and using some creative thinking, you can develop a successful marketing plan that will help you reach your goals and grow your small business.
11 Marketing Ideas To Include in Your Small Business Marketing Strategy
Most small businesses don’t have the budget to engage in traditional marketing campaigns like their larger counterparts. However, this doesn’t mean that small businesses can’t or shouldn’t market themselves. Marketing for small businesses is extremely important, and there are several ways to do it effectively on a shoestring budget.
1. Emphasize Your Value Proposition
As a small business, you need to be able to articulate what makes your products or services better than or different from the competition. This is your value proposition. Once you know your value proposition, make sure that it is front and center in all your marketing materials. It should be prominently featured on your website, in your email signature, and in any other marketing communications you put out.
Your value proposition is what will make potential customers choose your small business over the competition, so it’s important to spend some time crafting it and then making sure that everyone who comes into contact with your business knows about it.
2. Tell Your Brand Story With Data & Milestones
Your small business has a story, and it’s important to share that story with your potential customers. One way to do this is to tell your brand story using data and milestones. Share how you got started, what challenges you’ve overcome, and any major accomplishments or awards you’ve achieved. This will help potential customers understand the journey your small business has been on and why they should trust you.
3. Send Out a Customer Satisfaction Survey
Customer satisfaction surveys are a great way to get feedback that can help you improve your small business.
Send out a customer satisfaction survey to customers who have made a purchase from your small business in the past six months. This will help you understand what they liked and didn’t like about their experience, as well as what they would like to see improved. Use this feedback to make changes to your business that will improve the customer experience and encourage them to come back and buy again.
Include a link to an online survey tool like SurveyMonkey or Google Forms in your email so customers can easily provide feedback. Make sure to follow up with customers who take the time to fill out the survey – thank them for their feedback and let them know what changes you’re making based on their input. This will show them that you’re listening and that you value their opinion, encouraging them to continue doing business with you.
4. Publish Testimonials
Testimonials from happy customers are a great way to show potential new customers that your small business is worth doing business with. Post testimonials on your website, social media accounts, and in any other marketing materials you have.
Make sure to include the customer’s name, city, and state so people can see that the testimonial is coming from a real person. If you have permission from the customer, you can also include a photo or video along with the testimonial.
If your business is using social media, consider incentivizing your customers to tag and review your products and services in their posts. Social proof is the fastest way to build a loyal audience in the 2020s.
5. Develop a Referral Program
Referral programs can incentivize customers or clients to promote your business to their friends and family. By offering rewards for successful referrals, you can encourage customers to help spread the word about your small business. Additionally, developing a good referral program can help build customer loyalty and community around your small business.
When creating a referral program, there are a few things to remember. First, you must decide what kind of reward you will offer for successful referrals. This could be a discount, a free product, or something else that would be valuable to your customers. Next, you need to promote your referral program to your target audience. You can do this through marketing campaigns, social media, or simply telling your customers about the program. Finally, you need to ensure that the referral process is easy to follow and that customers can easily track their referrals.
6. Create a Website To Own Your Online Presence
One of the most important things small businesses can do regarding marketing is to create a website. In today’s digital world, having an online presence is essential. A website gives you a place to control your brand’s message and show customers who you are. It also allows customers to find you easily online and learn more about your products or services.
Creating a website can seem daunting, but many easy-to-use website builders make the process simple. Once your website is up and running, include essential information like your business’s contact information, product or service offerings, and hours of operation. You should also regularly update your website with fresh content, such as blog posts or new product photos. By taking the time to create a strong online presence, you’ll be sure to attract more customers and grow your small business.
7. Build an Email List
An email list is a valuable asset for small businesses. By building an email list, small businesses can stay in touch with their customers and cultivate relationships. Companies can also use email lists to send out special offers and announcements.
To build an email list, small businesses can use sign-up forms on their website or blog, or they can collect emails at events. Once small businesses have a list of email addresses, they need to use a reputable email service provider to send out their emails.
8. Consider Blogging To Attract Prospects for Your Website
When small business owners think about marketing, they often think about print ads, billboards, or TV commercials. While those are all great marketing tools, they can be very costly – especially for small businesses with limited budgets.
One of the best ways to market your small business is through content marketing – and one of the best ways to do content marketing is through blogging.
Blogging is a great way to attract new prospects to your website. When you write blog posts that are informative and relevant to your target audience, you can draw people in who are interested in what you have to say. And, once they’re on your website, you have the opportunity to convert them into leads or customers.
9. Create Social Media Presence and Partner With Influencers
In today’s world, it’s more important than ever for small businesses to have a strong social media presence. With platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, you can reach a large audience of potential customers – and it doesn’t have to cost you a lot of money.
One great way to get started with social media marketing is to partner with influencers. Influencers are people with large followings who can help to promote your products or services. If you can get an influencer to mention your business on their social media channels, you’ll be able to reach a whole new group of people.
10. Develop an Industry Partnership
One way small businesses can market themselves is by developing an industry partnership. This means partnering with another business in your industry to help promote each other. You can do this through co-marketing campaigns, cross-promotions, or simply sharing each other’s content. This is a great way to reach a new audience and build relationships with other businesses in your industry. Plus, it can help you save money on marketing costs.
To find a potential partner, start searching for businesses that complement yours. For example, if you’re a small bakery, you could partner with a local coffee shop. Or, if you’re a small clothing boutique, you could partner with a local jewelry store. Once you’ve found a few potential partners, reach out and see if they’re interested in partnering with you. If they are, then you can start brainstorming ideas for how to promote each other.
11. Get Industry-Specific Advice
With hundreds of different types of small businesses in most cities, you’re likely to find online resources that offer useful marketing ideas specific to your business or industry. For example, if you own a flower shop and are interested in increasing your sales during the holiday season, check out these marketing ideas that are specific to your business. If you own a book store, here are some actionable marketing ideas that will keep customers coming back for more. If you offer financial planning services, there are valuable marketing tips available to help you build a robust marketing plan and grow your business.
Marketing is an essential part of ensuring success for your small business. Small business marketing does not have to be complicated or expensive. Start with a clear definition of your target audience and follow the steps above to build a loyal audience that converts into a steady stream of clients.