It’s common to see many small business owners unintentionally ignore marketing, as in this digital age, a lot of SME’s interchange ‘marketing’ with ‘social media’ and ‘advertising’.
This article aims to get small business owners to think about marketing holistically and systematically. Marketing is definitely not a few social media posts with a few Instagram ads here and there. You need to put in WORK!
Running a small business without a strategy in place leads to confusing your customers with mixed messages, and worst of all, confusing yourself with a lack of direction.
We’ve put together for you, some simple steps to developing a marketing strategy as a small business owner.
Step 1: Take a step back
Look at your entire business as it relates to your marketing strategy, plans, and campaigns as well as your competitors, your customers and your industry as a whole.
Take the time to write (or type) things down, getting your thoughts out of your head allows you to see the bigger picture.
Step 2: Plan ahead
Lucky for you, here is a FREE template you can use ( because who doesn’t like freebies?) to develop your marketing strategy, which you can download and work through. Make sure you are as thorough as you can so you don’t get overwhelmed later on when it is time to execute your plans.
When you answer these questions, it is time to think about how they will affect your marketing communication.
Step 3: Communicate appropriately
Your communication depends on your strategy (which you should have created using the template above). For example, if you provide a home service or you offer delivery services, your communication should play upon the element of convenience.
If you do not have a permanent location and offer a nomadic experience, then your communication should play up the element of mystery.
If your target customer does not have a car and uses public transportation, your location is key as it needs somewhere that is close to where your customer works/lives or you can consider a delivery service and cut down on your overheads.
Your product, customer base, and price point will determine your tone of voice in your communication for example, if you are selling luxury high-end handbags to women over 40 years old, it is not advisable to use slang such as ‘slay’, ‘beat’ or extensively refer to popular culture as your customers are unlikely to relate.
If you are selling a luxury product/service, your communication should be minimal, professional, impersonal and aesthetically pleasing. Make sure you are not partnering with brands that might dilute the luxury i.e. lower end brands or brands that cater to a completely different market in the same industry.
If you are selling a product/service that is complementary to another e.g. if you are a makeup artist, your service complements or relies on makeup products and tools. Therefore, your communication can involve displaying makeup products or you can possibly collaborate with brands that offer the complementary product/service.
Step 4: Stick to your plans
Defining your USP (Unique Selling Point) and communicating effectively will allow you to play up your strengths and allow you to stay consistent and relevant in your consumers’ minds. You will be able to let your customers know exactly what problem your product/service solves and what gap it fills.
Without actually writing down these points, you may be communicating something that you think is a strength but is actually your weakness in comparison to your competitors.
Once your marketing strategy is in place, it becomes easier to develop your marketing plan for different instances, e.g. your launch, new product releases, and your seasonal campaigns.
Go forth and strategize!