Getting more from your SMB (Small & Medium Business) requires that you design and execute an effective marketing strategy. However, you may feel as though you lack the knowledge and skills needed to do the job.
Fortunately, in many ways, you can learn the art of marketing as you go. So, to help you get started in the right direction, keep the following tips in mind.
Plan a Strategy:
You naturally want to see your business grow, so you might feel tempted to jump into the marketing world to try random tactics. Although you might accidentally stumble upon success, the odds may seem stacked against you.
For starters, you need to review your business plan. This should include a review of your mission, values and goals that drive your firm. You also need to perform a thorough assessment of your organization: what are your strengths and weaknesses?
Continue your planning by identifying the external factors that influence your business, including the opportunities you have to create a competitive edge. Also, identify factors like competition that represents the gravest threats to your success.
Next, you need to identify your target market. In other words, decide to whom you want to sell your products and services. Next, design a persona that embodies all the characteristics of your ideal customer.
Part of your planning process should also include defining your marketing mix. For the most part, this includes four elements:
- Product – You need to provide products and services that meet the needs of your ideal customers.
- Price – Calculate a price that reflects the value of your product and allows you to profitably sell it to your target market.
- Place – Find out where buyers look for your products and services. Then, find ways to place them there. Also, plan your distribution method.
- Promotion – Choose the channels needed to reach the right audience with the right marketing messages.
Build a Team:
If you own or manage a small or medium-sized business, you probably have your hands full filling multiple roles within the company. Your responsibilities may include one or more vital functions, such as bookkeeping, selling, product management, customer service, purchasing etc.
When you add marketing to the mix, you may feel overwhelmed. Fortunately, you can get help without busting your budget. Rather than hiring a team of traditional, in-house employees, you could build a remote marketing team of contract and freelance workers.
Aside from saving money on human resources, remote workers offer a number of advantages to businesses like yours:
- Reduce overhead. By hiring remote workers, you can expand the capabilities of your organization without increasing costs such as leased space, furnishings and utilities.
- Increased productivity. Generally speaking, remote workers produce more, work longer and report higher levels of job satisfaction than their office-bound peers.
- Remote workers can live anywhere in the world, giving you access to knowledge, talent and skills that you cannot find locally.
- You can add and remove members of your remote marketing team to scale with demand.
- Thanks to modern collaboration tools and the cloud, you can work with your remote team as though they were in your office.
After setting up your remote marketing team, offer remote work to your on-premises employees and contract workers. By allowing flexible schedules and telecommuting, you can further increase employee engagement and loyalty.
Promote Your Brand:
After getting your strategy and your team in place, you can start promoting your brand. With a little creativity, you can accomplish a lot without spending a lot of money on advertising.
Enlist the help of your customers to spread the word about your brand. After all, shoppers nowadays pay attention to what customers have to say more than your branded marketing messages.
By establishing an active presence on the social networks that your customers prefer, you can build a brand community. Although you and your team will need to interact with your followers, your customers will serve as unpaid brand advocates.
You can also leverage user-generated content to make your social media presence active and valuable. This reduces the time and money you have to spend on content while creating a high level of engagement and excitement for your brand.
Your website should host a blog where you routinely publish valuable information about your products and services as well as issues that affect your industry. Also, link your social media profiles to your site, so users can get more information.
Other ways to promote your brand include:
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO). This attempts to match your content to the keywords and phrases your potential customers use when they search for the type of products and services that you offer.
- Pay-Per-Click Advertising (PPC). Using the paid advertising networks of search engines and social networks can bring your message to precisely defined audiences while keeping expenses low.
You have worked hard to build your business. Now, you can grow your business by taking a practical, systematic approach to marketing. Through proper planning, building a remote team, and cost-effective execution, you can grow the profitability and authority of your brand.
About the Author:
Jasmine Williams covers the good and the bad of today’s business and marketing. She was rummaging through her grandma’s clothes before it was cool and she’s usually hunched over a book or dancing in the kitchen, trying hard to maintain rhythm, but delivering some fine cooking (her family says so). Tweet her @JazzyWilliams88