Marketing is undoubtedly one of the major driving force that propels a business to continous success, it’s never all about money that you have to spend on marketing but time and effort are major resources towards providing what the “king” mostly requires. A survey by constant contact study an email marketing provider showed that only 34% of small businesses are planning to invest money on marketing although they are aware that marketing is key, they does alot of time consuming tasks such as store operations, stock keeping among others. This clearly shows that alot of SMEs haven’t been prioritizing on marketing but are slowly changing the direction due to the increased competition.
Time has changed and businesses have shifted more effort to digital marketing but SMEs are still lagging back due to financial constraints and limited focus on marketing budget,this should not be case anymore for their guaranteed survival. This is a platform for all business and opportunities are enormous to contribute to the growth of the SMEs even with limited resources.
Smart phone users have increased tremendously hence rise in online activities by people ushering new age of business based entirely on technology. For SMEs it is time to reconsider priorities having with them mobile marketing at door step to create buzz around their business. As a small business owner is your business equipped to move this direction?
It’s through appropriate marketing strategies that will enable you as a SME owner to bloster success of your business and continuous survival in this competitive business environment full of technology. To help you in this journey, I have highlighted some key tacts that you can use for your common good in the business despite its size.
- Social media- this definitely become on top of the list, in the various social media platforms ranging from Facebook, Twitter, whatsapp, instagram, blogs etc let your customers know about the business and what it offers, this will increase your market base as well allowing interactions with current customers with limited resources. Go ahead and open your accounts for your business is don’t have one and keep it updated.
- Blogging – this provide the platform for you to continously write comprehensive articles about your business, products and services, opinions,reports. Many people are continously relying on online publications to get more information on various issues. Let them know you with their visits to your blog posts. If you aren’t good in writing, you can hire an expert to offer you such service.
- Website /domain name – business online site enable the visitors to learn of the product and services that business offers, information on business, publications, business and customer interactions as well as analysis of data for decision making. This should be always maintained with up to date information and timely response to customers as well as improved accessibility. You can involve website development expert inorder to place your business in appropriate digital place.
- Mobile Apps – these are developed to suite the smart phones and can be easily downloaded by users for effective service provision of the business to customers at their handset. You can embrace the platform with the availability of resources for promotion of the business.
- Online map listing – this enables potential customers to locate your business from google map, this promotes physical accessibility of the business while improving efficiency.
- Online business awards – participate in any relevant and promising online business competition and strive to win awards as this improve the credibility and reliability of the business among customers as well as promotion among the public.
- Consider instructional videos – video recording of the business services, products, guidelines on using products, expert opinions which get circulated in various online platform ensures marketing of the business among customers.
- Adds promotion – You can have your business advertised in other well branded sites with large number of visitors and users, through the links provided in the sites the customers can easily access the business products and services.
- Public relations – ensure you remain in constant communication with customers as you get their contacts, email address whenever they visit the business physically or online. You need to ensure continous and up to date information provision to customers with the speed required.
Some other important marketing strategies for the small businesses today :
- Corporate Social Responsibility – plan to support and sponsor some of the local initiates such as street cleaning, marathons, fees for the less privileged students. This improves the corporate image of the business hence it’s long term survival.
- Collaboration – the small businesses can group together and have a stronger synergy that can enable them to collectively advertise for their products and services effectively as well as learning of the current market trends through continous interactions.
- Networking as an asset – whenever you go ensure people get to know you and about your business, have contacts of various people to help grow your business. The connections and new visitors met remains key to business success.
- volunteer for talks and speeches – whenever a platform arises where you can show and prove your expertise grab the opportunity and engage the public through it you get to promote the business.
- Trade magazine – you can publish articles of the business and the industry as a whole and let the customers and public continuously access them from various bookstores, library etc while promoting the business brand.
- Fantastic business cards – this shows sense of professionalism of the business to customers, they are able find any necessary information about the business as well as contacts for more efficiency. Move around with them and give them out as you do your networking.
- Referrals- positive customer services will always lead to customer satisfaction hence retaintion of more customers, You can always give customers coupons whenever they refer back other new customers, this is all through positive relationship with them. Spend some effort on this and improve your brand.
For the SMEs this is the right opportunity to shine and fairly engage other corporate business in competition, time has changed and need for prioritizing and scaling up marketing budget even with the limited resources can’t be ignored for survival in this competitive business period. Get some strategies from this article and keep the hope alive for your business success. “word of mouth marketing has always been important, today it’s more important than ever because of the power of Internet” – Newt Barret