Making the decision to set up small business, or even to become a sole trader, is a huge step in your life. Most small business owners will have had to generate funds by borrowing from friends and family, saving extensively for a while, or by taking out a start-up loan. So you’ll want to make sure your venture is successful and generates a nice profit so that you can clear your debts and move things onward and upwards.
Here are my top tips to help with small business marketing to your potential customers:
1. Identify your customer base
It’s advisable to do some research and find out what kind of customers you’re already attracting. If you have shop premises it’s a good idea to keep track of who is coming in and purchasing. Ask your customers how they found you and keep a record of simple data such as age groups, gender etc.
If you run your business solely through an ecommerce website then you could use the checkout process to ask some additional questions to help you to identify your customer base.
Try to piece together an image of who your customer is and how they are consuming and using your product or service. Once you know who your main customer base is you can target your marketing campaign towards them.
Then in the future you could try to attract a different demographic once you’re more established.
2. Look professional
Image is very important in business as it’s the first thing a customer will notice before they even find out what you do.
Ensure that your business always looks professional, no matter how big or small you are. If your business relies on selling products online then it’s important that you invest a decent portion of your budget into getting the best ecommerce website that you can afford. Nothing can put a potential customer off more than a poorly designed website that’s difficult to navigate.
If it takes too long to find the product they want then they’ll search for another company!
I would also recommend having your product range photographed professionally. No matter how stylish and professional your website is, if you have poor quality product images then you will lose sales.
3. Attend exhibitions
There are events and exhibitions taking throughout the year for almost every area of business. Look out for the events that suit your area of business and sign up to their mailing list so that they can keep you informed of upcoming events.
There’s usually a fee to have a stall or booth at an exhibition, but if you plan properly you can get a great return on investment (ROI) from these events.
For example if you are an architect you could look at having a booth at one of the many architectural events that take place in a city near you throughout the year. To fully show off your skills as an architect I would recommend finding a good 3D printing company and having some prototypes of your building designs created.
A 3D prototype that potential clients can pick up and touch can have much more impact than a computer aided image on a screen!
4. Communicate with your customers
5. Measure everything
I highly recommend keeping a record of who your customers are and where they’ve come from.
If most of your customers have found you via social media then it would be a good idea to invest more time and money into this method of marketing, perhaps by paying for Facebook adverts or sponsored Twitter posts.
If you’ve been running a regular advert in your local newspaper and it’s not generating enough revenue to cover the cost of the advertisement then it’s time to pull the plug on that method!
Most customers, when asked, will be more than happy to tell you who or what pointed them in your direction so try to get into the habit of asking. There’s no point wasting your hard-earned profit on ineffective methods of marketing, keep doing what works best for you and keep making money!