A cheat sheet for marketing your small business
Tuesday, 29 March 2016 11:41
Knowing how to market your small business is an ongoing learning process. Depending on your small business, there are a number of ways you could use to generate awareness of your products or services.
Put your customers first
Part of marketing is learning about your core customers. For you to market effectively, understanding what your customers want and value will ultimately determine the success of your marketing activities.
Marketing isn’t just about advertising and promoting your business. Try to put yourself in your customers’ shoes and determine how positive their experience with you and your small business is and what can be done to improve customer service. Excellent customer service can help with positive word-of-mouth for your small business. A happy customer will often become a repeat customer.
What is good customer service?
- Treating customers respectfully
- Consider feedback and thank the customer
- Going out of your way to help your customers
- Handle complaints gracefully
The four P’s. So what are they?
Product is a mix of goods and services that your small business offers to customers. Some considerations for product include:
Depending on your typical customer/s, try to consider any combination of these points to attract repeat business and generate positive word-of-mouth.
Place refers to how you will make your products and services accessible to your prospective customers. Will your small business be 100% online, both or simply a retail outlet?
Some considerations for place include:
- Location of retail outlet
- Distribution of products and services
- Area operation (Which geographic areas will you be servicing)
- Are you close to public transport?
- Will you have an online store?
Determining an appropriate price strategy can be difficult. Pricing is closely related to your business objectives and how much your customers are willing to spend on your products and services rather than your competitors.
Pricing strategies can include one or any combination of the below:
- The price charged for products and services is set artificially low in order to gain market share.
Loss leader pricing
- This is a no frills low price. The costs of marketing and promoting a product are kept to a minimum.
- Price skimming sees a company charge a higher price because it has a substantial competitive advantage.
- This pricing strategy is commonly used with prestige, luxury or exclusive products or services.
This pricing strategy is commonly used with prestige, luxury or exclusive products or services. You may like to visit the Australian Government’s website for small business, where you can read a pricing strategy guide.
How will potential customers know about your small business? Promotion is all about communicating with your customers and developing an effective mix of advertising, personal selling, referrals, sales promotion and public relations.
For a small business, promotion can be costly and therefore, you may need to come up with some cost efficient ways of promoting your small business to prospects.
Here are some ideas:
- Create a website
- Print product brochures and or flyers
- Develop a social media presence
- Attend local markets with a stall
Know your target market
You will need to consider identifying your target market/s as targeting your marketing activities at the people who may need and want your services or product can help generate quality enquiries who are more likely to spend their money with you.
Set sales goals and targets
Set sales goals and targets for your small business can allow you to track growth of sales. Marketing efforts that do not directly or indirectly result in the growth of your business may need to be removed from future promotional activities. If you feel that you are not experiencing growth in revenue, profit, number of enquiries and sales, adjust your marketing mix.
Get a handle on the four Ps of marketing. Getting your product, pricing, placement strategy (distribution) and promotional strategy humming along and working together is crucial to good marketing.