Marketing for Small Businesses – Plan ahead to save money
Marketing for Small Businesses – plan ahead to save money
Here at HandBuilt Marketing we work with really small businesses. We’re talking hair salons, exercise instructors and local pubs. These are the businesses who can’t afford to pay someone to do their Marketing, therefore the business owners try and put on their Marketing ‘hat’ once in a while when they’re hounded by the local newspaper to advertise in it.
Marketing for small businesses of this size is often reactive as business owners, through no fault of their own, perhaps don’t have the expertise to write an annual Marketing plan and stick to it. When tackling Marketing for small businesses, planning saves money, so it’s worth taking a time to plan ahead.
We offer a service called our Marketing Healthcheck, it’s our most popular product by a long way. It’s a great opportunity to get to know these brilliant local businesses and help them take a step back to look at everything they’re doing.
Below, I’ve detailed some advice on how to reflect on the Marketing you’re currently doing. This is just a broad overview, there is of course more to think about, but it’s a good place to start.
Marketing basics – take control
- Social Media
- Do you use social media? Hopefully the answer is yes!
- Don’t be tempted to use all the channels available, just choose the most relevant few and do them well. (see my article on which ones to choose Social Media for Small Businesses)
- Take time to post content on them at least once a week using hootsuite.com
- Is your website optimized for Google searches? If your website isn’t optimized, the reality is that people won’t find you that way. Look at employing an expert to look at this for you as it’s a specialist area. For as little as £100 you can make a big difference.
- Think about updating your website to a newer format. Scrolling, responsive websites are the latest thing and they cost much less than you think.
- Use Google analytics to assess how many people are using your site, which pages they’re visiting and how many buy online or contact you.
- Are you paying someone to make changes to your website? The quick answer to this one is, don’t! Website platforms now are so user friendly that making text changes is like editing a work document, anyone can do it. You have a right to access the back-end of your website if you’ve paid someone to make it.
- Blogs are a brilliant way to really add value to your existing and potential customers. They are the Marketing tool of the moment and a great way of using your own expertise to promote your business
- Don’t just write it, share it! It’s vital that once you’ve written a blog for your website that you share it via your social media channels. This extends your Marketing reach and also is one of the many things that contributes to a better Google search ranking.
- Do you spend money reactively on newspaper / magazine advertising? If the answer is yes, then have you measured the response?
- Your mantra should be ‘if you can’t measure it, don’t do it’.
- Every ad you place should have a mechanism to allow you to measure whether the ad was successful or not, therefore enabling you to evaluate whether to advertise again. It can be as simple as a money off % with a voucher code that people must bring into your business to redeem. Collect all the vouchers and hey presto you can assess whether it’s worth advertising again.
- Forward Planning
- Take a look at what your business objectives are for the year and focus your Marketing efforts on those. Planning ahead saves you money and prevents you from grabbing at reactive opportunities that come your way.
- Perhaps you have quiet days you’d like to fill, why not promote those days with a discount?
- Perhaps you need to work on customer retention? What reasons are you giving people to come back to you? Think about loyalty discounts, or added value you can give to your customers.
- I’ll be posting on how to write your Marketing plan soon…watch this space!
- I’ve talked about this already. All Marketing should be measurable. Measure your social media following, measure responses to ads, measure your website footfall, measure how people found you when they call to book.
- If you measure all of the above, make sure you sit down once a month to assess what’s working and what isn’t. Not only will this save you a lot of money, but will also ensure you feel in control at all times and very clear about your Marketing plan.
There is of course a whole lot more you can be thinking about, but the above offers a good starting point on how to get to grips with your Marketing activity. If you’d like guidance and advice or if you’d like to book in your Marketing Healthcheck, get in touch:
Handbuilt Marketing – Marketing for Small Businesses