If you aren’t marketing your business, chances are you will be going out of business soon. Unless you’re introducing something revolutionary in your industry, there will always be heavy competition with established brands. Therefore, developing a quality product or service won’t be enough. You need to reach out to people and let them know you exist.
To market your business successfully, there are a number of skills you need to acquire. It is essential to make connections with all types of people, not just customers, but suppliers, vendors, colleagues and employees. Building these relationships require strong communication skills — the ability to connect with different audiences. A firm understanding of your audience will help you cater to their true needs.
Winning Marketing Tactics
Here are five practical tips that can set you on the right path to marketing success.
1. Know your customers and competitors.
You can’t be all things to all people, instead focus your marketing efforts on the people who will care about what you’re saying. Make a record of your customers’ buying habits, and use surveys to learn more about their demographics. Know what they want, how they want it, who they trust, where they see your marketing, etc.
It is also just as important to know what your competition is up to lately. Take note of their marketing strategies so you can emulate (and improve upon) the successful ones and avoid the disastrous ones.
2. Take advantage of simple marketing tools.
To really get the most mileage out of your marketing budget utilize all the weapons in your arsenal to expand your reach. Write a marketing plan to focus, document your tactics and keep track of marketing activities.
Use both traditional and online marketing materials, such as business cards and brochures, along with a company website. Ensure that all of your marketing channels are well-designed, echoing your brand identity that communicates an image of professionalism and consistency.
3. Harness the power of social media marketing.
The first thing you need to understand about social media is that people use it to make real human connections with others that share their interest. That’s why it’s called social media. Users aren’t looking for a hard sell, so don’t go overboard and use your social media accounts to plug your products and services.
Interaction is key. Encourage fans and followers to share their experiences. Reply to their comments, and do so in a way that actually sounds like you care and aren’t just typing a scripted “official” response.
4. Open your mind to search engine optimization.
Search engine optimization (SEO) is essentially activities you can perform to make a website rank higher in the pages of search engines. Why is this important? Many people use search engines, like Google, to find just about everything. The higher your rank, the easier it is for people to find your products and services.
There are a lot of factors to consider when you optimize your website for search engines, but the general suggestions are to tidy up the code, create great content that targets industry relevant keywords, and build backlinks with high authority websites.
5. Embrace the mobile revolution.
Coupled with the rise of social media is the ascent of mobile platforms. Everyone’s either on their smartphones or tablets surfing the Internet, streaming videos, playing games, or buying all sorts of products.
For starters, every small business owner should have their company website optimized for mobile browsing. Ensure contact details are easy to find. If you own a physical store, provide the location and directions using mapping apps so customers can get to you conveniently. And lastly, connect your mobile website with your social media accounts to build loyalty and engagement.
Marketing is centered on bridging the gap between your small business and your customers. Accomplishing this starts with knowing your core capabilities and what your target audience wants. Armed with the right marketing skillset and general tactics suited for this digital age, you can reach out to your audience in a way they’ll understand. With that, you’ll soon be on your way to building a world-class brand.
Aj Fruza Aviado, with Xight Interactive, is a painter, musician and occasional blogger.