A successful marketing strategy is important for every small business. Without it, you will struggle to attract and retain customers. There have been huge changes in what constitutes effective marketing lately. These five tips will help your business develop a marketing plan designed to engage new customers.
Learn Your Customers
Understanding what drives customer behavior is a major factor in a successful marketing plan. After all, if you understand who you are trying to market to, and what motivates them to make a purchase, then you can develop an effective and targeted strategy. To do this, you will need to conduct market research. In many cases, you can access existing data to gain insights into a potential customer base. The Small Business Administration is an excellent resource for small businesses looking to gather market information.
If you have a strong customer base already and are looking to expand, use testimonials to reach a larger, similar audience. Ask customers to write a review or share their experiences. Encourage them to use hashtags to generate organic sharing on social media to get those Le-Vel Thrive reviews to a wider audience. Offer incentives for leaving reviews on your website, Google or Yelp.
Evaluate Your Existing Strategy
It’s difficult to make improvements if you don’t have a full grasp of the effectiveness of your existing strategy. Go back through the past year’s marketing activity and results. If some strategies aren’t producing the desired results, look at whether they can be adjusted, or if abandoning them altogether is a more viable option. Keeping accurate records and attributing leads to their appropriate source will make evaluating your marketing strategy much easier. However, using questionnaires or running through sales data in comparison to individual campaigns can work in the absence of that information.
Study the Competition
Chances are, there is a similar business that you admire, or that commands a large portion of the market share. Look to their marketing strategies for inspiration and guidance. You can get a lot of information just by observation and analysis. If they are regularly running Facebook ads or a spot on local radio, it’s probably because that strategy is working for them. You might even reach out to them and ask for advice or mentorship. Many established businesses are more than happy to provide guidance to smaller and fledgling businesses in the same industry.
Update Digital Channels
The marketing world is increasingly trending toward digital methods. Now is not the time to be without a digital presence. At the very least, a small business should have a website and at least one or two social media accounts. Be careful not to take on more than you can successfully manage, though.
If you have those accounts, take a long, hard look at your digital channels and see where an update or refresh could help. While you are at it, optimize everything for mobile use. Use graphics instead of long sections of text and make sure pages load quickly and are easy to navigate.
Attend Trade Shows
There is still a lot to be said for trade shows. They put your name in front of thousands of potential customers through paid advertising and print materials. At the same time, they also give you a chance to make a personal impression on attendees. While more trade shows are heading to a virtual format, you can still benefit from participating. In fact, many digital trade shows have lower costs compared to a traditional format, so you may be able to get involved in more of them.
Trade shows are not available for every industry, but that doesn’t mean you are limited to your physical or virtual store. Flea markets, craft or holiday fairs or farmers markets are excellent alternatives for some businesses. Like a trade show, they provide marketing support while also giving you access to a willing base of new customers.
Evaluate your existing marketing strategy, look to competitors and gather market data to better understand customer behavior. Many small businesses find trade shows and a strong digital presence foster growth.