Almost all businesses conduct marketing activities in some way: perhaps they send emails, post on social media, use social ads or rank for keywords on Google. However, surprisingly few businesses have a cohesive marketing strategy they’ve designed and are continuously working towards. The importance of a marketing strategy as an SME cannot be understated; regardless of your industry’s niche, you will need to compete for your target customer’s attention. Following a good marketing strategy is instrumental in winning over valuable customers.
First, you must decide: What are your aims and objectives? We understand that your business objectives can be challenging to translate into marketing objectives. This is a reason why using a marketing agency is so helpful. An agency will typically have decades of combined marketing experience. However, if you want to try creating a marketing strategy on your own, we have a few helpful tips to make it easier.
Why is marketing strategy necessary?
Every company wants to get their name out there. Still, when you’re an SME with a small budget, it’s hard to develop digital marketing ideas while balancing marketing expenses against other business expenses. It’s no wonder that so many small companies struggle to get noticed in the market.
Did you know that 42% of businesses in the UK have no idea how to create an online profile, and six in ten business owners haven’t considered using social media to advertise their business?
A good marketing strategy helps your business increase brand awareness and develop a sales funnel. With the correct digital tactics, you can grow your small business, attract more customers and turn them into loyal (and paying) customers.
How to build a marketing strategy?
Define your goal
What goals do you hope to accomplish over the next few months? It’s essential to create SMART goals – Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound. For example, by the end of Q4, my brand will gain 5 thousand new followers on Instagram.
Know your target audience
No matter how great of a marketing plan you create or the product you sell, consumers are crucial to the success of your small business. But who are these customers?
When marketing your small business, targeting the right audience is essential. So how can you do it? Here are some tips for finding your audience:
- Know your target market
- Define your niche
- Research competition
- Create a pen portrait of your customer
- Segment your audience
- Keyword research
Social Media marketing
Social media is a great free tool if you want to target a big audience and engage with them regularly. It’s usually not the best sales driver, but it’s great for branding and growing awareness; however, before jumping in and creating an account, you have to research where your customers are. If you have done customer research before, then you probably already know.
Depending on your customer, you can consider these platforms and tactics:
- Facebook: Post status updates and customer reviews.
- Twitter: Share news and answer customer questions.
- Tik Tok: Post engaging content which highlights your USPs
- Instagram: Post quality content that shows your products and various stories not related to the product. Followers don’t care for constant salesmanship; they want value too.
Search engine optimisation (SEO) is a great free marketing tool. It’s optimising your website for search engines so when a customer does a product search; your website will show up high.
Usually, the higher you rank on search engines, the more likely you’ll be able to drive traffic and consumers to your website.
Some of the most common SEO practices are:
- Requesting reviews from your customers.
- Optimising your website’s speed.
- Using keywords on your website’s copy.
- Publishing blog posts.
- Using location pages.
- Creating backlinks.
Influencers are people with a large online following who can influence opinions. For example, if an influencer promotes your product, their followers will likely notice.
There are a few options to work with influencers. You can contact influencers and send them to offer them free products for a post. This usually works with micro-influencers. The second option is to pay them for a post, and lastly, there are influencer agencies that can connect you with the right influencers.
Email marketing is still alive and thriving. It is a cheap digital marketing tool that allows you to build a personalised relationship with customers and continue to target them after a purchase. You can send newsletters with product updates and sales too.
To effectively create a marketing campaign, you can:
- Build an email list. For example, offer a free PDF or discount for an email address.
- Segment your customers.
- Use email automation software such as Mailchimp.
- Create subject lines which will make the customer open the email.
Paid social advertising and pay-per-click (PPC) allow showing ads to target customers on social media or display ads when they search for a particular keyword in a search engine. You have to define your audience and find relevant keywords. Then choose a daily budget and monitor the performance of the ads.
For some SMEs, it can work wonders. However, it has to be a realistic approach. Don’t just throw all of your budget at it. Make sure you are fully leveraging other free marketing strategies. Then check if paid advertising could grow your business.
And there you have it, the basics of building a marketing strategy as an SME. Perhaps all of these areas will work for you, perhaps only a few of them will – the beauty of a good marketing strategy is that you can tailor it to you!