Even in the best of times business failure rates amongst small and medium sized businesses are high. The terrible shame about that statement is that it simply does not need to be that way, if businesses only got their marketing correct so many of those businesses that fail could have gone on to be a success earning their owners and shareholders a return on their investment.
So how does a business go about getting its marketing effort right?
1. Define your target market – First of all it is important to convey a consistent message to your target market. So consider what your target market is, you’d be surprised how many businesses don’t! The factors to consider for consumer targeted businesses and services include geographical location, age, sex, income level and interest groups. For business to business products and services factors would be geographical location, business sector and size turnover. Write down a definition of your target market.
2. Unique Sales Points/Major Sales Points – Once you have your target market clearly defined you need to start thinking about your unique sales points or major sales points. Why should potential clients or customers choose to deal with your business rather than your competitors? The answer could be price, location, quality of service or product, knowledge, experience, uniqueness of product, etc. Think this through, define it and write it down.
3. Marketing Tactics and Media – Once you know your target market and your unique sales points you need to identify the correct marketing tactics and media to get your message across. Options on marketing tactics will include online marketing, direct marketing, sales promotion, advertising, public relations or telesales. Most likely a combination of several of these options will be correct depending on your location, business type and target market. Most of all it is vital to maintain your consistent marketing message and design style across all the media channels you decide to employ. By doing so you will start to build your brand.
4. Convey a consistent message/build trust – Everything your potential customers or clients see or hear must convince them that yours is a business that can deliver on its promises. This starts with your core corporate identity and your logo. A professionally developed and designed logo is a must, your logo must be relevant in terms of colour, shape, typeface, symbolism and usage. Once you have the right logo for your business have your stationery professionally designed also. It is also worth considering developing a logo descriptor, which is a phrase that accompanies your logo and encapsulates your offering – like our own ‘Access to BIG agency talent for small and medium companies’.
5. Make the most of your online presence – For many businesses a website is a key element of the marketing strategy, so it is important that your website is well thought through. The biggest single question to answer is what is the purpose of your website, is it a means of recruiting new clients and customers or is it a place to refer existing contacts to showcase your services or products. If it is the former the website must be designed to make it ‘search engine friendly’ which may for instance mean avoiding lots of flash work. In general you need a clear and concise website which is easy to navigate and reasonably quick to download and provides reassurance to your target market that you can deliver on your promises.
6. Professional marketing help – Marketing your business is a very complex task and one that is vital to the success of your business so it is important that you obtain professional advice. The internet is now an excellent place to source the help that you need and the place where you are most likely to get the best deal. Look for marketing and design professionals who understand the importance of giving you return on your investment and make sure that the people you commission have the experience, track record and knowledge to deliver. Hiring the wrong people could be an expensive mistake!