Thank you to Rosie for inviting me to write a guest blog on her website.
Today, we find ourselves in unprecedented and challenging times, many are anxious and understandably concerned about what the future holds. Marketing is a core part of running a small business and it is important to continue to engage with your target audience. It is recognised that at the moment everyone is going through their own journey of ‘lockdown’, so it is important to also consider what feels right for you, your business and your customers. It might be that now is the right time for planning and the implementation can wait. I wanted to share some tactical marketing hints and tips to help drive your small business forward, so that you have them to hand when you are ready to start planning your next campaign.
Before we get into some low-budget tactical actions which you can take today, for these to be successful it is important you have some clarity on the wider, more strategic questions. It is important to understand “What you are trying to achieve?” It could be that you wish to build your social media audiences, gain more clients or increase your revenue. Putting your customer at the heart of everything you do is important, so visualising your target audience and defining their dreams, aspirations and challenges they face is key. This will help guide your marketing approach, including: your media selection, tone of voice, image selection and creative.
Here are our 8 essential low-budget tactical marketing tips:
- Engage in social media. Social media is a gift for any small business owner. Firstly, consider which network is right for your-business audience. If you are a professional business such as a Solicitor, Accountant or HR Consultant then Linked In or Twitter will definitely be a good place to engage. Alternatively, if you are a product targeting a family audience then Facebook or Instagram maybe a better alternative.
- Video. All of the current marketing trends show that video engagement is growing at a huge rate. Plan to include use video as part of your media mix, either as a Facebook Live or mini video, it will certainly help support your reach.
- Send an email campaign. Email marketing is a great tool to use to retain and engage with your existing customers. Ensure that the messages you communicate tie into your wider marketing activity. Plan carefully what it is you would like to say and where possible design the email to be – visual, short, sharp and concise.
- Set up an offer or event. If you are keen to try to generate business think about your audience – What challenges are they facing at the moment? and How does your business support them with their challenges? If you are able to, set up an offer or incentive and use your internal marketing channels to drive awareness. If you can widen your audience by boosting a Facebook post or setting up some advertising this will help drive greater awareness.
- Pick up the phone. Many people find this a little bit harder. If you are a professional small business, why not check in with past or potential clients to see how they are doing? Maybe their circumstances have changed and they are now in a position to work with you. You never know where this will lead, even if they do not need your product or service now, they may know someone who does.
- Little and often. Marketing works most effectively when you do little and often, if you do a lot in a six-week time frame and then nothing for six-months you won’t see the results you are looking for. Plan out your activity and content, think about what you can do when you are at your busiest and start with that as a frequency base. For example, it is better to engage in one social media network well, than try to do four all at once.
- Less is more. Try to be single minded in your communications on whichever channel you are engaging with. Trying to cram too many messages into an email for example could be confusing to the reader and could have a negative effect.
- Build partnerships. If you can identify another business with a similar target audience, which compliments yours, why not try to build a partnership? Collaboration is a great way to connect with a wider audience, plus when you work for yourself it is really good to have someone else to bounce ideas around with.
Good luck in engaging with your small business audience.
Sophie Comas is a freelance marketing consultant from Rimu Marketing (https://www.rimumarketing.co.uk), if you have a marketing challenge she would love to hear from you.