A five-step guide to marketing your small business

A key growth driver in every small business is effective marketing.

Each time you engage in marketing to attract and retain customers, you increase the value of your company. Strong marketing tactics will empower your business to compete with larger players in the market, and can see a new product outperform a more developed brand.

Small-business owners have never had greater access to cost-effective, measurable marketing tools as they do today. Whether you’re on a shoestring budget or are ready to invest in more costly, traditional tactics, I have pulled together my top tips for successfully marketing your products and services to consumers

  1. Dot the Is and cross the Ts on your professional image – Invest in training internal staff to be ambassadors for your company and create exceptional customer experiences. Professional image begins with employee presentation and includes marketing materials, and when perfected, conveys the image of a confident business.
  2. Build the customer into the marketing cycle – Give direction to the day-to-day running of your company by developing an action plan that focuses on customers in each step of the buying cycle. From building awareness to encouraging referral, build customer call-to-actions into your business plans for a marketing approach that will lend growth to your business.
  3. Think about customer retention initiatives – To get more traction from your campaigns, set up an automated email newsletter tailored to each of your customer segments. Email automation is simple to set up and yet an extremely effective way to convert prospective consumers and engage past customers for repeat business.
  4. Take every opportunity to network – Turn to Facebook, LinkedIn, and other key social media tools to engage with networking groups within your industry. Attend local networking events for the opportunity to meet other entrepreneurs and win over the target market and your dream consumer.
  5. Build your online rep – With it being more important than ever to build brand recognition online, social media offers the ability to build meaningful relationships with your customers. Whether it be reposting positive testimonies on your social media pages, or recognising posts and tweets: like, follow, and share user-generated content. These simple interactions are more authentic and effective than any forced advertising campaign, as you are letting actual customers do the marketing for you.

Melissa Haywood, Head of Vistaprint Australia

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