In today’s volatile economy, many small business owners are reluctant to spend too much time or money on marketing activities. Understandably, they argue that a formal plan or strategy is only necessary once they are much bigger. Or that traditional ‘word of mouth’ marketing that got them started, is enough to keep them going.
They might take on ad hoc marketing activities initially, or before they launch a new product, but fail to realise the importance of having a clear long-term plan around how they want to position their brand in the mind of prospective and existing customers.
A marketing plan doesn’t have to be complicated or even take too long to put together. It just needs to look at the bigger picture. What does your brand look like, sound like, and promise consumers on various platforms? And how does it encourage consumer feedback? Read more about branding and engagement in two of our recent blog posts.
Here is an easy marketing checklist to get you started:
Have a good look at your logo. Does it still accurately represent your business? Does it stand out from the crowd? And is it effectively applied on all platforms (e.g. signage, letterheads, office space, vehicles, newsletters etc.)? If not, we suggest you look at updating your logo design and corporate ID.
2) Responsive website
Is your website responsive, user-friendly and SEO optimised? Do you regularly update your site with valuable content that’s relevant to your industry and can the public comment or engage with you via your site? Here at Yellow Door we believe that in order to stay relevant in the fast changing marketing climate, you should revamp your site every three to four years. Small businesses don’t need complicated websites, however they do need a website that is visually appealing, current and representative of their brand identity.
3) Audiences and channels
Do you know who your different target audiences are? Your clients aren’t all alike, and so you need to speak to them in the right tone, and through the right communication channels.
Also make sure you don’t only speak ‘at’ them, but that you rather give them the opportunity to engage with you and give feedback.
Different communication channels might include:
- social media channels (Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest)
- electronic newsletters
- digital advertising (Google Ads, Facebook adverts and boosted posts, LinkedIn adverts etc.)
- traditional advertising (local, regional or national newspapers)
- community radio
- business cards and flyers
4) Content marketing
It’s no longer enough for people to simply know about your business. Chances are, there are tens or even hundreds of businesses almost identical to yours. Consumers are asking ‘why?’ – why should they choose you over your competition?
That is precisely why you need to position yourself as a trusted expert in your field or industry – someone who can offer valuable advice in that particular field of interest. Content marketing involves marketing yourself in a way that adds real value to your audience.
It’s not only telling them about your services or products, but rather writing content that will enrich them with knowledge about your industry or related issues that they might need input in. Although it can be seen as a more subtle way of marketing yourself, it is incredibly effective if done correctly, as it builds familiarity and boosts your SEO.
5) Relationship marketing
When last did you ask for customer feedback? As with any relationship, two-way communication is essential. Make sure you give your clients ample opportunity to be heard and make suggestions. Be it via your website, a feedback card in-store, a phone call, or on your Facebook page. Knowing that you care enough to want their feedback builds a sense of trust and increases your chance for future referrals.
It goes without saying that a small business’ marketing plan will be much simpler than that of a big corporate. However, the basic framework and idea behind it needn’t look much different. In fact, in today’s digital age a small business has no chance of growing or even surviving, if it’s not intentional about implementing a basic digital marketing strategy.
If you’re not sure where to start, why not book an appointment or call with us, and allow our strategists to come up with a simple, tailor-made marketing plan that makes business sense and is within your marketing budget.