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5 Marketing Tips for Starting Up a Small Business

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As seen in Inside Small Business

Whether you’re planning your first marketing campaign or your thousandth, there are five mainstays of small business marketing that will help you fine-tune your strategy, get noticed and ultimately grow your small business.

Put these proven small business marketing tactics at the core of every campaign, combine them with a dash of creativity and a can-do attitude, and you can expect big results:

1. Challenge the Status Quo

Dare to be different. There’s absolutely no value in doing exactly what your competitors are doing. As small business owners you need to keep challenging the status quo and push yourself out from your comfort zone. Online videos, networking, SMS marketing, mobile marketing, social media, letterbox advertising – only by trying something new will your brand truly stand out.

2. Put out consistent messages

Be clear on what your business stands for and how it’s represented. Then stick to it (think of Coke-a-Cola). Apply your brand and messaging through your chosen communication channels to building brand positioning, awareness and recall.

What’s your promise? Knowing this will help you put out consistent messages and attract the right customers, but it will also drive your service level, ensure you hire the right staff and develop products or services that align with your promise and fulfill those customers’ needs.

3. Balance reach and relevance

Think like a popular cereal, and find a balance of reach and relevance that’s just right. This is the key to getting the best return on investment for each of your marketing campaigns. The danger for small businesses is the temptation to cast the net too wide with your marketing messages in a bid to reach as many people as possible. The result, however, is that your message becomes too general and doesn’t connect with your target audience. All you’ve done is spend dollars on marketing to people who aren’t interested (and probably never will be). On the other hand, if you’re too narrow with your reach, you could miss out on potential customers full stop.

The goal of marketing campaigns isn’t to tell as many people as possible about your company – it’s to drive a relevant audience into action. Take some time in the planning of your marketing campaign to identify your target market – what are the characteristics or demographics of your best customers? Then put yourself in their shoes. Get in tune with their emotions, challenges and needs. In doing so, you’ll be better able to choose the most effective language, offers, timing and channels to reach them.

4. Repeat again and again and again

Don’t do something once and expect hundreds of new customers to come knocking on your door, ringing your phone or visiting your website. Because if there’s one thing you can count on, it’s this: not everyone will see, remember or act on your advertising the first time. And that counts for every advertising channel from television to email to letterbox advertising.

The general rule is to reach your audience at least three times to generate attention. For some campaigns, three might be all you need, but other campaigns might require one or two or three more. Only experience will tell, which leads us to…

5. Test and Refine

Only by measuring, testing and reviewing your campaigns can you expect to improve the results.

Why not A/B test different headlines or offers first? Then use the results to determine your final campaign. Once the campaign is out there, there are lots of ways to measure the success of your marketing campaigns. Your first port of call is to revisit your SMART marketing goals (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-bound). How did the campaign results match up to the goals?

Don’t be afraid to ask for feedback from your customers too. Besides being a great way to get honest feedback, it can also be a good relationship building exercise.

You can’t always expect to get it right first time, but with some patience and valuable feedback, you can keep refining your campaigns until you get the results you want.

Would you like one final piece of advice?

Hire a professional. You can’t do everything yourselves, so focus on the things you enjoy doing and can do well, and bring in the experts for everything else. Engage a graphic designer to design an eye-poppingly cool letterbox flyer. Work with specialists in SMS marketing. Network in your local business community and swap skills with other business owners.

Need more inspiration for your next marketing campaign? Head over to our ideas and examples section for industry specific marketing ideas that are simple yet effective. Don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter to have more marketing tips and strategies for your small business, delivered direct to your inbox.

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By Ryan Christie – Marketing Manager – Local Direct Network (LDN)

Ryan heads up all things marketing at LDN. Driven by the power marketing can bring to small business; Ryan’s key objective is to provide SME’s with the latest relevant information & tools to ensure their letterbox advertising is successful and helps grow their business. Now and again you can find Ryan on Google+LinkedIn and as a contributor on Flying Solo.

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