Marketing is a key driver of growth for small business, so what strategies can businesses use to get ahead of the market?
Many people have the opinion that Social Media is the best marketing solution for small business and the biggest “bang for buck,” in today’s highly connected world. On paper you can reach everyone else on the internet for the price of a connection, right? Well, that works in theory, however in reality most marketing experts will tell you that while social media is a great way for your business to reach people, it’s still not the be all and end all of a modern marketing strategy. While I think that Social Media is part of the strategy, I do believe that there are better returns for effort and far better results available depending on the nature of the business.
Social Media Marketing Strategy In Small Business
In the majority of cases the strategy for social media is to connect social activity through platforms such as Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn, Instagram and Pinterest (to name a few of the larger ones) to your website. Once on the website you can buy the service or widget that you have found out about once you’ve arrived on the landing page that the article on social media was linked to. This is a cheaper method than paying lots of money for Search Engine Optimization (SEO) or Google Adwords to attract people to your website, where the “bidding costs” are geared towards Google making bigger and bigger profits.
While we’re a more connected world than we’ve ever been, we haven’t been blessed with more hours in the day, so the result has been a crowded marketplace and a struggle for your message to be seen. Go back 20 years and businesses fought to have bigger, higher, brighter signs out on the street until the streets were so full of signage that it’s difficult to see one sign from another, even when you’re looking for it!
The Key Marketing Question All Small Business Owners Must Answer
So how do you as a small business with an even smaller advertising and marketing budget get noticed?
Firstly, be clear on what your Unique Selling Proposition (USP) is. This is what makes you different from your competitors. If you are one of the crowd just saying, “I can supply that service or widget too,” this message can be deciphered as “choose me, I’m a nice guy or gal” and this message just doesn’t cut through.
When you’ve worked out what your point of difference is, communicating this message becomes much clearer to the consumer. One of our clients has 230 five-star Google Reviews and they use this as their Unique Selling Proposition. Whenever they are asked “what makes you different,” their response is “don’t listen to us, see what our customers say.” When you see their business with 230 five-star reviews and their nearest competitor has 3 reviews with a 4.6 rating, what would you think?
We’ve created a free tool that you can use to define your business’s USP and guarantee so you can easily gain clarity on what sets you apart from your competitors, click here to find out more and download the worksheet.
How A Small Business Can Get High Search Engine Rankings Without SEO
If you have a website and it has very little traffic (make sure you’re signed up to Google Analytics so that you can see what the traffic is) then consider your alternatives rather than spending masses of money on Adwords and SEO. You can use other platforms that have extremely high organic rankings to leverage your business’ position. For example, a client has a cleaning business that sits in a saturated market with a high number of competitors, ranking highly organically would be very expensive but paying to be a Yellow Pages online advertiser means that they appear in the top three to five companies in every Google search at a far lower cost.
Another example is my own retail top end bicycle store called Alchemy Cycle Trader, where I got a quote to be at the top of the organic listings for a spend of $3300 per month. We’ve managed the same result by spending a fraction of that amount by advertising our product consistently on huge second-hand bicycle platforms such as Gumtree and Bike Exchange.
Marketing Through Networking
What if you don’t have a website, you’re just starting out or you’re self-employed and want to grow? There are plenty of options available to you to grow massively without having to go down the paths of traditional advertising, marketing and social media. What about networking with strategic alliances? Here’s an example…
One of my clients has a Recruitment Agency and their experience had been that it’s hard to stand out in a crowd of well-established recruiting businesses which have huge marketing budgets. Her unique selling proposition is that she’ll find you the ideal employee for a flat fee of $1995 and you’ll get to see video interviews of potential employees before you lose a lot of time doing “one on one” interviews. Almost all my clients have used her services and are raving fans of what she offers. Contacting more business coaches and building strategic alliances with them could provide more opportunities and has the ability to provide a great result with no advertising outlay! What other strategic alliances could provide opportunities like this?
There are almost 300 strategies that can be used to increase leads, convert more of these leads into business, increase the average order size, get clients to return more regularly and to increase the profitability of your business and many of these strategies just rely on you taking some time out of your busy days to implement them.
Remember to spend some time working ON your business, not just being absorbed within it!
If you’d like some guidance on how you can make the most of all the different marketing opportunities available to small businesses, book a chat with Nigel today.